In the shade of a breezy courtyard, Filomena threads her loom with rich tropical-blue threads. She spends the afternoon weaving on her backstrap loom. The skills and patterns she learned from her grandmother transform her bundles of thread into luxurious jaspé kimonos.
Centuries of Artisan Traditions
In festive skirts and blouses, they fill an assortment of pots and jars with water and fresh-cut native plants from the Guatemalan countryside.
Just inside the stucco archway, the artisans carry bundles of banana tree trunks into the kitchen.
They chop and peel away the outer layers and prepare the inner pulp to be boiled into mordant.
On the same stove where she cooks her family meals, Filomena boils kettles filled with bright flowers, green leaves, and earthy barks to create her own unique shades of organic plant dyes.
Each pot contains a treasured family recipe that has been passed down for generations.
Among her most prized family recipes is Guatemalan Indigo.
“Knowing the craft of weaving has changed my life! Instead of farming, which is sometimes very hard physically, I can focus on creating.
My favorite part is the magic of the natural dyes. I like to experiment with the plants and create new colors.” – Filomena, Artisan in Guatemala
A Beautiful Life
Silky rainbows of thread wave in the breeze, as mothers and daughters gather in the courtyard to begin weaving the traditional kimonos of their ancestors. This is more than a celebration of art and heritage. In a culture where families face overwhelming poverty and lack of job opportunities, many of these artisans, like Filomena, are the main income earners for their families.
“Before this, I always worked at home taking care of my kids and farming land. My entire family has always been and still are farmers except for me.
Now I’m a professional weaver. That makes me happy!” – Filomena
A Heritage of Hope
As a mother and grandmother, Filomena invests the income she earns as an artisan into her family’s hopes for a better future. She saves part of her income, hoping to one day own her own shop where she can sell her designs.
Each time Filomena ties her final tassel, she has invested a week of her life, skill, and passion into creating a single Laguna Silk Kimono. She has also invested a week of her life, skill, and passion into creating a brighter future for the next generation. She weaves each timeless kimono with pride in her heritage and hope for her family’s future.
Watch this video to see how our Laguna Silk Kimono is made!
Trades of Hope is partnering to create a heritage of hope for families in Guatemala.
Every purchase of our Laguna Silk Kimono supports a woman in Filomena’s community.