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Artisan Organization: Women Embroidery Artists of Quiche

Country: Central America

"We started with a small group of four women--Martita, Adriana, María and myself, Carmen--all of us with many dreams of giving our children a better future, eager to improve ourselves and make our art known.

"The four of us had similar stories; we learned from a very young age with our mothers and/or grandmothers, who also learned from past generations. It really was a challenge, because we saw how they knitted or embroidered and it was very difficult. We saw how little by little a canvas or a figure was being formed behind each stitch they made. Without a doubt, it is something that makes you fall in love from the first moment. Of course, there was a lot of practice, years of making fabrics and embroidery. They did it with such ease, and we could barely make a stitch, but that did not deter us to continue learning.

"As we told you we have similar stories. We are not family, but our mothers grew up very close and are very close friends. Therefore we did too, and we have been very close from a very young age. Unfortunately, due to our economic situations, we did not have the opportunity to finish our studies, so we began to make fabrics and embroidery from a very young age. It was no longer just a distraction or just to learn; we needed to eat and help with the income from our work.

"That's how we started selling. Since we were still young, every afternoon we got together and talked about our dreams and our goals. We grew up and continued with art. We always helped each other to create new pieces, combining shapes, colors and textures. Each one formed her own family, but unfortunately, we live in a country with few resources, where women very rarely have the opportunity to improve themselves. Our husbands had jobs, but many times it was not enough to buy the essentials. So with my friends, we decided to join forces and create a group where we would sell our products, and that's how we started.

"We started selling in local markets. We had a very good acceptance and we left our department and continued selling wherever they gave us the opportunity. Of course, we were not always lucky enough to have their doors open to us, but every place we went was a great learning experience.

"Over time, more artisan women joined us--Laura, Pamela, Luz, Amelia and Catalina--with whom we have made a wonderful team, united and with common goals. We hope in the future to have more women who want to join this beautiful group, and that together we can generate income for our homes, and continue empowering ourselves and making our way in society, as working and fighting women.

"Our products are unique, even if they are repeated. Believe me when I tell you that each one is unique; each one carries the essence of each artisan, each canvas tells an unrepeatable story full of love, dreams and dedication." "

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