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looking for source of Guatemalan Text…

Sharon_B. | Posted in The Archives on

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I am looking for a source of Guatemalan Textiles (molas and hand woven fabric) for use in my own designs of patched clothing and accessories. I would like to be able to obtain this directly from the native artisans, or through a middle-man who can help me pass much of my profit back to the women who create these beautiful textiles. In my travels, I find the fabrics at such a high mark up and am concerned that the Guatemalan people aren’t seeing enough of this profit for their handiwork. Also, has anyone tried this sort of thing before?

Replies

  1. Nancy_in_NM | | #1

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    Try the Fair Trade Federation. Their web site has a listing of retailers who carry items from different countries and are committed to helping them with economic development. It may take some inquiries, but it sounds like these are the types of businesses you're looking for.

    http://www.fairtradefederation.com

    I've also obtained molas and mola-style T shirts from a lady in the area who does missionary work down in Panama, where they are made by the Indians. She's a friend of a friend so I don't have a direct source but will post if I find out anything further.

    I've used Guatemalan textiles and they are easy to handle. I prewashed and dried by machine before cutting. Keep in mind the width is often narrower than standard. Exact matching of patterns may also be an issue because these fabrics are hand loomed. I haven't sewn with molas, but I have a T-shirt made in the mola style. I machine wash and dry it also, using Synthapol, and have had minimal problems with the dye running. Its a white T shirt with red flowers, so you can imagine. You wouldn't believe the fineness of the applique--all hand stitched with tiny, tiny stitches on detailed designs.

    1. Sarah_Kayla | | #2

      *Try http://www.globalfabric.com. They have a terrific selection (although I have never purchased from them)

      1. Sue_Hayes | | #3

        *As usual, I'm writing at work with all my reference materials at home! The most recent(20 th Anniv.) issue of "Handwoven" has updates from many of its past contributors. Deborah Chandler, longtime columnist and author of an excellent text for beginning weavers, mentions her current participation in an organization(Weaving for Peace strikes me as the name) which works with Central American weavers. Sounds like that might connect you directly with some textile artisans.Good luck with your search.

        1. TJ | | #4

          *In that issue of "Handwoven," Deborah Chandler (whose book, by the way, is great) is described as a founding member of Weave a Real Peace (WARP) who now divides her time between Colorado and Guatemala "teaching and promoting handweaving wherever she goes." Weave a Real Peace states that its mission is "to facilitate self-empowerment and betterment of people in need through textile arts." Weave a Real Peace (WARP)3102 Classen Blvd. - PMB 249Oklahoma City OK 73118 Good luck.--TJ

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