One Maya Traditions’ cooperative, located in the community of Patanatic, creates handmade pine needle baskets and home furnishings using a newly acquired technique. This technique originated from the Native Americans of North America, and was shared with the artisans of Patanatic through a Maya Traditions’ training program.
These pine needle products are created through these steps:
Collecting the pine needles—The cooperative works together, with their children, to search the hills around their village for the ideal pine needles—long and unbroken. The women often plan ahead, collecting pine needles during Guatemala’s dry season in order to make baskets year-round.
Preparing the needles—When the artisans return from a day of gathering, they clean the needles and then set them out to dry. They store these dried needles so that they are ready to produce baskets all year long.
Weaving baskets and other products—The artisans start the weaving process with a group of 5-10 pine needles to create a strong base. Wrapping a natural fiber tightly around the pine needles connects the needles. The women continue to wrap the group of pine needles in a circle or oval, using the natural fibers to create the shape and also to add to the aesthetic of the product. The artisans continue this process to create a variety of designs and often use hundreds of pine needles to create the final product.
Finished baskets—After days of hard work the women produce a variety of different baskets and home furnishing products.