Petrona Perez and the Women Artisans Association
Artisan Organization: Petrona Perez and the Women Artisans Association
Country: Central America
"I was born in a small Maya town in the highlands of Chiapas. My mother began teaching me to weave on the backstrap loom when I was very young. Weaving by hand is a tradition in the whole town and we feel it's our duty to preserve this work. In every house you can see families working on the backstrap loom.
"I love my work and I love to combine different colors. Each time I create a new design, I find inspiration in my community, in our fidelity to this precious work that transmits the teachings of generation after generation. I remember the warmth each weaving generates in every member of my family. This gives me a beautiful sensation of security that I try to express in each of my designs.
"When we're about to begin a new brocade pattern, we use a glossy thread that adds elegance to the textile.
"When I begin imagining new designs and weavings, I'm better able to evaluate my ideas and feel sure that they'll come out the way I've imagined. But only daily practice has led me to become more creative and continue maintaining the quality of my work.
"At the beginning, I remember it was a time of constant weaving errors and, with infinite patience, my mother showed me how to create a textile that was a pleasure to see. She taught me to trust in my patient and carefully crafted work.
"Most of my family members work with me and we always try to make this a team effort. We complement one another's knowledge in a very responsible way. Each of us works at our own rhythm and with our own creativity, and we organize the work based on experience and weaving style. Each woman who creates a new design teaches the others how to do it and, in this way, we enhance one another's experience.
"Our goal is to continue creating designs that captivate people's sentiments. We want to continue sharing our knowledge with anyone who decides to apply it and preserve his beautiful tradition of our town.
"My desire is to show my work to people in other parts of the world. To inspire someone with to do what he or she loves. To share a bit of the hope I feel when I'm doing what I love.""