Artisan Organization: Pablo Castellanos
Country: Central America
"I've cultivated my artisan dreams since I was a boy. My first piece of traditional silverwork was a Maya design bracelet with quetzal birds, crafted when I was 11. I am a proud father, with well-founded principles and values, always seeking justice, positive thought and hard work to attain everything you could want.
"I am a Guatemalan man. The youngest of four children, I was born January 25, 1980 and my grandparents started the first jewelry factory in our town. They crafted both modern and traditional jewelry.
"When my father died, we went to live with my grandparents. In 2000, my mother migrated to the United States and it was a tough moment. I was forced to be alone. But it was also an opportunity to grow and to dream about my own jewelry designs and my future. I obtained a counter for displaying silverwork and I began selling my jewelry. I started from nothing, working the silver with my own hands under guidance of my grandmother, who involved me in her workshop until I was able to design, craft and sell pieces of my own.
"Silver art was the best possible inheritance. Today I dream of opening shops in different places and being able to leave my daughter an art that has been in our family for several generations.
"I use gold, silver and copper in my work, and what I like best is when shoppers admire and appreciate my designs. I struggle every day to be the best, even though it can be difficult. Thank God I have the support of my wife and her designs. I'm in charge of the workshop and crafting process.
"Jade was a sacred stone for the Maya. This is why I use it in my designs; it helps my work be fully identified with the history, customs and traditions of my country. I also work with techniques that were used 50 years ago, without the use of machines.
"I am very grateful to show my work here, taking a little bit of everything that Guatemala is beyond our borders, and being able to live from the work I enjoy ‚Äì silver crafts.""