Artisan Organization: House of Antigua Artisans
The House of Antigua Artisans is located in the beautiful city of Antigua Guatemala, where thousands of visitors have fallen in love with its culture and traditions. The group is made up of 10 people, mostly men, who are dedicated to making both fabrics and textile products.
"This all started with my grandfather, Roberto Flores, when job alternatives were scarce and he needed to be able to provide a decent livelihood for his family. My name is Francisco Flores. I was born in the beautiful city of Antigua Guatemala, known by many for its colonial beauty, in 1979. I have dedicated myself to making accessories, though of course you will wonder how I learned the art.
“In the 1970’s, my grandfather found that job opportunities were scarce, and he needed to be able to provide my dad and uncles with a decent livelihood. He began to experiment with different fabrics, using his sewing machine at home. He started making pillow covers; but the business was not very profitable, so he continued to experiment.
“One day, with the remains of some typical fabrics he had found in the craft market, he began to make a bag. The result was not what he expected, and without hesitation he gave it to my grandmother, who used it daily and treasured it a lot. One day when she was walking to the central park of the city, many people admired the bag. My grandfather could not believe it, because it was not something he liked, but it was part of his drive to continue making bags. And so after this, my grandfather found new clients and the work became his passion.
“My father grew up in the workshop that his father had adapted in a small room in the house. When I was 18 years of age, both my father and grandfather were still engaged in the work; but they were already tired, they were older, and that was when I started to get interested in it. It is part of a beautiful family legacy that I seek to preserve. Little by little and with much love, my father taught me the art. I was amazed with every detail; it was when I learned that even the small things matter--you always have to put in a lot of dedication.
“Time passed and I took charge of all the elaboration. By 30 years of age my experience was greater, but I could not cope with so much work. I began to call on my friends, and without hesitation they said yes. Teaching them as my father had taught me, and sharing my knowledge--believe me, there is nothing more enriching than that. Little by little everything was growing, and today we are already 10 people involved in this process. We are more than a team; we are a family, because with this many of us have been able to give our children schooling so that they can have an enriching future, not only financially, but full of values and education.
“Today we thank you for the opportunity that you have given us to be able to reach your homes. You will have in your hands products made with a lot of love. Each one is unique, and each one carries the story of a craftsman with many dreams and illusions for the future.”"