Women in Guatemala sewing and weaving for a better life.
The women in Guatemala are my heroes. Every day they face so many obstacles most of us cannot imagine. They are survivors creating beauty in the midst of harshness. Indigenous women have been weaving on back strap looms since they were little girls. The patterns and colors from the various regions are imbedded in their minds and hearts. Colors that don’t seem to go together are woven into beauty. For almost 20 years, I have been involved in marketing crafts from the artisans I have come to love in Guatemala. And soooo, after serving as a Presbyterian Mission Co-worker for 5 years, with my husband Brian, we have retired and created Resilient Threads.
We want to introduce you to the main groups of women that we have long term relationships with. We’ve shared coffee, loved on their babies, listened to their struggles and together have come up with fair wages and crafts that we hope that you will consider buying. They come with stories of hope. Some of the women even pray as they weave. I have been on retreat with the seamstresses and I have never seen such a love for sewing!
Corazon de Mujer – They are survivors of the 36 year long armed conflict and had to relocated away from their homes and their communities. They have survived by supporting each other and weaving. They create beautiful rayon scarves on backstrap looms.
Corazon de Lago – a cooperative of 33 women in a rural village on Lake Atitlan. They weave on backstrap looms with threads dyed with plants, flowers, and bugs. They also use an Ikat dye technique – similar to tie dye, creating various designs that are woven into their creations. They are weaving shawls and table runners.
Saq B’e – This is our newest group of 10 seamstresses who we have been with since the inception of dreaming together. Their indigenous group is Mam and also their first language. They live in the highlands of Guatemala. They meet in the home of Silvia and call her house “the house of peace” where there are no men and they can be themselves! They sew on treadle machines and many items are sewn with “upcycled” fabric that is also handwoven. They create cloth napkins, placemats, table runners, baby bibs, market bags, hot pads and small backpacks.
Batz – San Juan, Lago Atitlan – Batz is a small shop in San Juan, Lake Atitlan supporting weavers and seamstresses in the community with fair paying jobs. They also use natural dyes and have large bags, makeup bags, and tiny bags. We have been inspired with this family because they give back so much to their community.
Yabal – These weavers are also living in the highlands in a very rural and cold area. This community was displaced into another area due to a hurricane. The weavers are bringing in much of the income of the community and gaining respect and leadership as women. They weave and embroider some of the most beautiful products I have seen in Guatemala.
La Puerta Abierta – is a creative school that supports several reading programs around the lake and in different areas of Guatemala. Their products are made by mothers to support their children’s education. Their whimsical ornaments are loved by adults and children!
Sharing the Dream – Their elder center supports women over 60 without family. They receive food, community connection and collaborate with a local school for fun activities. Sharing the Dream works with over 20 cooperatives and businesses in Guatemala, using traditional techniques for the creation of their crafts providing income and community development projects. The unique jewelry is made by both women and men at their Center in Santiago.
If you would like to order products for your church, store, or personally, please contact us and we will be happy to help you! Several churches have sold for us during their holiday season. We are willing to donate back a percentage of the sales to support the missions of your church.
Brian & Sandi Thompson-Royer
Thank you for your interest in supporting people we love and who create beauty and hope in Guatemala!