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Creative Artisan Women's Group

Artisan Organization: Creative Artisan Women's Group

Country: Guatemala

"Our group came about because we wanted to create a marketing project for Guatemalan artisan designs. For us and for many other women, handicrafts are an important source of work and income. Our techniques are traditional and combine our cultural wealth with contemporary design elements.

"We work with fair trade standards to empower artisans in disadvantaged positions regarding commercial relations, transparency, responsibility, fair prices and building capabilities. We work to improve these women's work conditions and take care of the environment.

"Guatemala is a country with a rich artisan tradition, both in the cities and the rural areas. Many, many women are artisans, especially our Maya women. We organize them into small groups like cooperatives, associations, family workshops, and we also work with individual craftspeople. They live in different regions of the country — Quiché, Sololá, Baja Verapaz, Alta Verapaz, Totonicapán, Sacatepéquez and Chimaltenango.

"A number of people and organizations have lent their support so that we could organize and improve our logistics, production and delivery times. Thanks to them, we are helping creative women to get ahead and have shown them that shoppers like our work and buy it. We believe in our ability as weavers.

"This hasn't been an easy path. We've faced tough challenges but we've overcome them. One of the biggest has been for all of us to achieve a certain uniformity in our weavings and their quality. We've organized courses to standardize sizes and the names we use for our colors, and to agree on the names we'll use for each design. That was great because learning is always positive and it has made us feel good.

"Thanks to these organizations, kind people and groups such as yours, we've been able to move ahead. We believe in our work and our skills. Most important, we've developed our creative capability and can share it with the whole world. Greetings to all of you, our friends, and thank you for choosing our designs!""