Artisan Organization: Meliza Tzay
Country: Central America
"It is a pleasure to be able to introduce myself to you; my name is Meliza Tzay. I am 25 years old, and I am the youngest of my siblings. We have always been a very close family; but unfortunately my father is an alcoholic. Because of this, we have undergone many trials in our family. However, this has not stopped us from continuing to fulfill our dreams. He has always been a hard worker and has made endless products; he has a gift for different jobs, such as blacksmithing. My mother is an embroiderer, and she makes impressive items. I can say that we come from a family of artisans; however, until a few years ago I had not yet discovered my gifts.
"When I graduated from school as a primary education teacher, I started working in a pharmacy. It was not a pleasant experience, because I suffered from discrimination. At that moment I knew that I had to do something that really fulfilled me, and together with my sister we decided to make necklaces. In my father's workshop we made thousands of pieces, and we had the opportunity to open a small space here in Patz√∫n. Thank God, we had a very good acceptance from locals and foreigners, who also brought us proposals for new products.
"We knew that our business had to grow with new products. That was when we decided to make painted mirrors. My sister drew, and I began to experiment with painting. It was a wonderful experience; my hands took over the brush, and my emotions began to be reflected in a piece made of wood. From that moment on I totally fell in love and I couldn't stop painting.
"Something inside me knew that I wanted to make pieces that people can carry with them. That was when I began to devise the elaboration of painted necklaces and earrings, which would represent the wonderful Guatemalan textiles, and also make a small tribute to indigenous women. We proudly wear costumes typical of the region that characterizes us. It is a tribute to my mother, my sister, aunts, and cousins, who work hard every day to perform as professionals, workers, and students.
"I love making each of my pieces. Although they may look the same, each one takes my effort, my love and my essence. I hope I can reach the hearts of many women who, when wearing them, will highlight their beauty not only outside, but inside. My dream is that, as a family, we can continue to overcome each of the tests that comes our way, help my dad, and be more and more united; because family love is what helps us to continue." "