Stitching Christmas Traditions
The women of Maya Mam Weavers value learning new skills. In 2015, our backstrap weavers invited Juana Ramos, a talented weaver from San Jorge la Laguna (along Lake Atitlan) to share her embroidery skills with them. Our backstrap weavers weave beautiful products such as Celebration table runners, Celebration placemats, coasters and belts, but because of the time involved, these products tend to be our most expensive products. So, they have discovered that learning new skills to apply to other products is a way to ensure them of continuing to earn a living wage.
Juana spent a week with teaching the women new embroidery stitches. When they were through, they had a celebration to show the rest of the women in the cooperative the beautiful things they had made with their new skills. They embroidered belts, blouses, and tablecloths all by hand. The most spectacular were their embroidered belts, and they began to get orders from around town to make them in their spare time!
Some years later, as we were brainstorming ideas for new Christmas ornaments, we decided to give the women some traditional shapes of the season to embroider. They started by embroidering the shapes of trees, hearts and Christmas balls onto fabric that had been woven on a foot loom. Each weaver creatively filled the shape with colors and motifs of their own design, making each ornament a one-of-a-kind, a work of art.
From there, the seamstresses cut out a matching shape from our hand woven solid fabrics, sewed up the seams, and added some stuffing along with a vegan cord loop for hanging on the tree. Before too long, we had baskets full of beautiful ornaments ready to trim your Christmas tree.
The embroidered ornaments are so popular that we truly have trouble keeping them in stock! Each year we enjoy adding new designs to the collection. This year, our embroidered ornament collection includes green trees, red hearts, white stockings and gold stars to decorate your tree.