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Ruben and Gilda Perez

Artisan Organization: Ruben and Gilda Perez

Country: Central America

"Our story began in a town near Antigua. Gilda grew up in a home of woodcarvers and I grew up in a family of silversmiths", Ruben tells us. "From a young age, I learned the craft of artisan jewelry, as I would watch my father work all the time. When I was old enough, he began teaching me. Gilda, too, helped out in the family wood workshop and also helped her mother sell traditional Guatemalan food in the town's park.

"Our parents taught us this art. We began our first steps as artisans while still going to school. I remember we met when we were 16 years old. We were both very young and very much in love, Gilda says with a smile. When we decided to unite our lives, each of us continued working in our specialties. Ruben crafted jewelry and I did carvings but, as time went by, we decided to work together and to set up our own workshop.

"Ruben tells us that he has been working with jewelry since 1996 and Gilda has been carving wood since 2002. They now dream of making their sales grow to be able to give their children the opportunity to go to college, to build a house, to improve their workshop and provide employment for others.

"Our main inspiration is the legacy our parents left us. They taught us the value of hard work and that art is an expression of culture. This is an invaluable gift. We are also inspired by our own children, as they are a reflection of the effort behind our work. It is thanks to this work that they are learning to love what they do, and to do it better and better on their own, Ruben says.

"During our free time, we always try to do something for our community. I like soccer a lot and I enjoy playing as well as attending tournaments. I also began a soccer school for children. Gilda likes participating in religious activities as well as being a volunteer in the church group.

"Thank you for opening your doors and allowing us to be a part of your family. We are artisans who are proud of our country. We work with our hearts, with dedication and love. Thank you for supporting us!""

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