Maya Traditions Journal

Meet Maya Traditions’ Latest Design Partner: Ara Collective

Posted by on June 08, 2015

“We believe every person—despite the social, economic or geographic situation they were born into—deserves the freedom to discover, to dream andto thrive.” Maya Traditions Foundation is proud to announce an exciting new partnership with social entrepreneur Sarah Contrucci Smith and her new business Ara Collective. Ara Collective is a socially responsible company that works alongside artisans to develop unique, handcrafted products that blend traditional craftsmanship with modern style. In preparation for the launch of her business, Sarah visited Guatemala and traveled to our communities to meet our artisans and observe their work. Growing up in Indonesia, Sarah was provided with the opportunity to learn

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Remembering Jane

Posted by on June 03, 2015

Over the years, Murray Mintz has seen Maya Traditions grow and transform. Now the President of the Foundation, Murray often thinks about the years when his late wife and our founder Jane Mintz first began visiting Guatemala and working with indigenous female artisans. What began as a personal initiative has grown into a social enterprise, partnering with over seven cooperatives of indigenous female artisans. Many of these artisans are the same women that Jane met many years ago, that recognize Murray from those early years, and who often tell us stories of Jane’s kindness and loving nature. Here, Murray reflects

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Maya Traditions is Now an Official 501(c)3 Charity!

Posted by on May 22, 2015

Muy buenos días! We are happy to report that Maya Traditions Foundation is now an official, government-certified 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization! While we have been a nonprofit in Guatemala since 2007, being a non-profit in the United States is key to our mission and will support our growth as an organization. We are not in this for the money. We are in this to support indigenous female artisans as they work to strengthen their communities, earn a fair living, and preserve and promote the art of backstrap weaving. We are nothing without our artisan partners and this designation will allow us to continue

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Artisan Spotlight: Francisca Tzep Cotiy

Posted by on May 18, 2015

On a recent trip to the community of Nahuala, we sat down with Francisca to hear her story. She is an inspirational woman who creates the most beautiful textiles. Here is a little bit about her! What is your name?  Francisca Tzep Cotiy How old are you? 38 years old. Tell us about your family.  I have a husband who works in construction and two sons who are 13 and 18 years old Where do you live? In the small village of Palanquix Guachiaquib´, which is a part of the community of Nahuala. When and how did you learn to weave?

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What Makes Maya Traditions Special: An Interview With Our Staff

Posted by on May 15, 2015

If you’ve had the opportunity to visit Guatemala and meet Maya Traditions’ artisans, staff, and volunteers in person, you know that you have found a remarkable place. This month, we asked our incredible staff what makes our work at Maya Traditions special. Here is what they had to say: ‘Maya Traditions has strong, long-lasting relationships with artisans and works to support them as whole women not just artisans.’  ‘We convert the needs of our artisans into opportunities, offering them the training and tools necessary so that they themselves can change thier own situations. For me, that’s true empowerment.’   ‘We are a foundation

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USH: MTF Leaders Begin Work with New Communities

Posted by on May 05, 2015

Maya Traditions Foundation began partnering with Unlocking Silent Histories ‘USH’ in 2012 offering young people involved in our Youth Education Program the opportunity to develop and share their voices through creating their own short documentaries. Here, the USH Guatemala Field Director Jenn Miller shares the latest developments within the program: A heavy rain begins to fall on Saturday afternoon as we wrap up our first Unlocking Silent Histories meeting with two new groups of program participants in Santiago Atitlan. The indigenous youth gathered around the table where we sit in a second floor office don’t seem to mind, using the rain as a welcome

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Meet Our New Partners–The Thread Caravan!

Posted by on April 30, 2015

We are excited to announce a new partnership with The Thread Caravan, a business that will offer art workshops around the world. By participating, individuals learn about traditional craft production, while also experiencing scenery and adventures unique to each destination. The first destination is Guatemala, where participants will learn the art of backstrap weaving with our artisans at Maya Traditions Foundation. Here, founder Caitlin Ahern shares a bit about The Thread Caravan:   Hi, I’m Caitlin, an artist with a passion for travel and helping others. I’m merging these interests by creating The Thread Caravan. Our comprehensive travel packages take participants to different communities around the

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Youth Education Program Update: Miguel David

Posted by on April 27, 2015

Maya Traditions Foundation partners with individual donors to support students–the children of our artisans–to attend university. Due to the high cost of inscription and monthly fees of university, many indigenous families are unable to send their children on to university. We are working to increase our impact and the amount of university scholarships we are able to offer. Here student Miguel David Vasquez Asjoc, son of artisan Lucia, shares with us a bit on his life and studies.  Dear friends, I hope everyone had an amazing Semana Santa, or holy week. I would like to tell you that this month I had a wonderful time

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Celebrating Fashion Revolution Day

Posted by on April 24, 2015

Two years ago today, the Rana Plaza collapsed, leading to the worst industrial disaster in Bangladesh’s history.  1,133 workers lost their lives and over 2,500 others were wounded. This event exposed the harsh realities of the garment industry that many of us have heard about, but chose to ignore. It also spurred an international movement and conversation about who is making our clothes and the conditions they face at work every day. We at Maya Traditions are excited to be a part of this movement by celebrating and preserving the art of backstrap weaving and by providing an alternative, ethical

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Meet Laura, Our New Community Tourism Coordinator!

Posted by on April 21, 2015

Hello!  My name is Laura Gehring, and I am proud to be the newest addition to the Maya Traditions’ team.  I will be working as the Coordinator of Community Tourism, which means I will have the huge honor of bringing visitors out into the field to see our programs and artisans in action.  Visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of the region through visiting Maya Traditions’ Organic Medicinal Herb Garden in Panajachel and the surrounding communities where our collaborating cooperatives are located. At the Garden, visitors are free to look, touch, and taste the plants as

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