Guatemalan Weaving Adventure

Mayan Handsmayan hands collage tour

Guatemalan Fair Trade Weaving Adventures

January 20-30, 2016

Host, guide, and translator Deborah Chandler, author:

Traditional Weavers of Guatemala: Their Stories, Their Lives
Learning to Weave and Guatemalan Woven Wealth

mayanhandsny@mayanhands.org

To register: Mayan Hands Tour Registration Form

 What You Will Do

MH2– Meet Mayan Hands weavers In their homes and communities

– Try your hand at backstrap weaving

– Shop the world-famous Chichicastenango market

– Visit Mayan sites and museums, including Museo Ixchel, named for the goddess of weaving.

– Savor delicious traditional Guatemalan foods

-Explore Guatemalan Highlands, beautiful Lake Atitlan and the colonial city of Antigua.

 Click HERE for complete itinerary.

What You Will FindMH6

Experience the natural beauty of Guatemala and immerse yourself in Mayan culture, ancient and contemporary, in the homes of weavers, in extraordinary markets and museums and in your connections with Guatemala’s greatest treasure, her people.

You will return home with your spirit renewed and hope restored.  Plus of course, a suitcase of gorgeous handwoven fabrics!

The DetailsMH 1

– Trip cost of $1895 includes all lodging (double occupancy), most meals, local transportation, translation, entrance fees and $400 donation to Mayan Hands (with tax deduction receipt). Airfare and personal expenses not included.

– Discounts available for Mayan Hands supporters. Contact us for details.

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For more information and trip itinerary click here  or email Deborah Chandler at weavingfutures2012@gmail.com

The beginning of the end…

August,19th,2014


The beginning of the end…

This journey is almost finished…

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The river in San Rafael

I left San Rafael yesterday, it was a sad goodbye but I leave with my heart full of joy and great memories !

The women prepared us a great meal! They prepared a soup with turkey in it, and some tamalitos (made of corn).

Deborah, Julo and Damaris were there, and we all celebrated at Gilberta’s house.

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Women cooking

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Deborah, Damaris and Julio

It was a busy day, the women arrived at Gilberta’s at 6 in the morning to start cooking. They were all smiling and making jokes, as they always do!

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preparing “tamalitos”

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women cooking

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Berta and Elvira preparing tamalitos

The women gave me a gift! A beautiful black huipil!

They are so nice, I was very moved…

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Abelina teaching me how to do some weaving techniques

They also helped me set up the warp on my backstrap loom, so I could be able to weave on it at my home back in Mexico.

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Abelina setting up the warp

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Me, weaving!

At the beginning of the day we were all very happy, Deborah and Julio arrived at 11am, but as the hours passed we started to feel sad. I couldn’t believe I was leaving that day!

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Eating and having a good time at Gilberta’s

But the hours passed quickly and by 3 in the afternoon, we had to go.

We all had tears in our eyes… it was a very moving goodbye!

But I know it’s not a goodbye.. it’s just a see you later!

 

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Mishel, Karen and me

 

 

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The women and me (and the Handwoven magazine)

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The women and me… the goodbye!!

I’m in Guatemala City right now… feeling kind of strange!

I spent 2 months living with these women and I got used to everything. Things like making tortillas, seeing women carrying stuff on their heads, or walking in the mountains became normal to me.

It’s amazing how we get used to things!

And here I am.. back in the city, where normal things like taking a shower with hot water seem amazing to me!

It was a great experience! One I will never forget.

Our paths cross for a few months, weeks, days, hours…. Seconds! But I will carry these women and their families in my heart for life.

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Berta, Elvira, Fulgencia, Abelina and Gilberta (from left to right)

I learned great lessons and meeting these women with great souls, so connected to nature, will make me a different person.

And I hope you will carry  a little bit of these women in your heart too…

This week Deborah will take me to visit some other places in Guatemala, and I’ll be finally going back to my home in Mexico City on Saturday.

So I say “wiila wiib” (goodbye) to you for now….

This is the END of this adventure… but I’m surely the BEGINNING of more!

 “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nim-

Wiila wiib’

Rocío Mena

 

My New Adventure in Guatemala!!!

June 11th, 2014

Come Along with Me

I would like to invite you to come along with me on my new adventure in Guatemala…!!!

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My name is Rocío Mena, and I will be spending the next two months in San Rafael, Guatemala, helping a community of Mayan women dye cotton yarn with natural dyes.

 

 

 My Love of Natural Dyes

Natural dyes are my passion! And for me, they represent magic on earth!

Seeing the process that transforms a plant into a dye color, observing the alchemy that takes place in an indigo vat or the way a cloth turns from green to blue when in contact with oxygen! Those are the things I enjoy the most.

“Alchemy is a rainbow which bridges the gulf between the earthly and the heavenly realms,between matter and spirit. Like the rainbow, it seems close enough to grasp, but it will retreat if you pursue it solely so that you may find a pot of gold…”                       – Stanislas Klossowski de Rola –

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Oxygenating indigo leaves to make the pigment

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Organic Indigo vat (banana)

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Eco-dye

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cochineal: different colors, different mordants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Silk scarve dyed with: weld+indigo+myrobolan/iron stamp

A Dream Come True!

But let me tell you a little bit more about myself and how I ended up doing this…

I’m originally from Mexico City, where I studied fashion design, and then I continued a Master’s degree in Lyon, France. I was studying in Lyon for a year and a half, and then instead of doing an internship in a Fashion Brand in Paris, I decided to go south.I went to a very small, charming town called Lauris, located between Avignon and Aix-en- Provence.

I stayed there for almost 6 months! Learning about Natural Dyes at a Natural Dye Organization called Couleur Garance

Being there was a dream come true!!

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Castle and gardens situated in Lauris

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Sunflowers

I learned a lot about natural dyes, and I had the chance to meet and learn from Michel García, a natural dye expert, recognized worldwide.

Michel Garcia has released 3 DVD’s, you can find them at Natural Dye workshop. The newest one is “Colors of Provence”.

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Lauris association and boutique

I was supposed to do a fashion internship! But it was amazing how I ended up involved with chemistry and botanic. I was in contact with the dye plants in the botanical garden, and I could really see the process that goes from the plant to the color in the cloth. That was very important for me, because it made me realize that sometimes we don’t know where things come from, or how they are made.

Living and growing in the city keeps us away from the essence of things.

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Lauris, France

There are some interesting videos , one is called “La route du Pastel” and the other  Michel Garcia talking about the gardens in Lauris  (these two videos are in French but well worth watching!).

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My view of Lauris, France

The Natural Dye Project

A year later, I met Catharine Ellis and Annalisa Jensen, back in the Natural Dye Symposium in Lauris. They told me about a Natural Dye Project in Guatemala, and that they needed someone who could speak Spanish and work with the women involved, to help get consistant natural dye colors dyebath after dyebath so that these yarns could be sold to weavers in the United States.

I was very interested in it, and after talking to Catharine only about five minutes. I ended up joining them in Guatemala last March 2014. It’s amazing how we meet people, and how the universe sends us opportunities where we couldn’t ever imagine they would be!

More to come!

Coming next….My initial visit to Guatemala and what I learned.

Please be sure to register to receive my blogs so you won’t miss out on any of my new adventures in Guatemala with The Natural Dye Project.

Rocío Mena