"My parents started out as farmers and then learned to weave. I started to help them when I was 12 years old, and that's how I eventually learned too. The first...
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"My parents started out as farmers and then learned to weave. I started to help them when I was 12 years old, and that's how I eventually learned too. The first thing I ever did was a scarf with complicated patterns. It wasn't very good but through practice and perseverance I improved.
"I'm Francisco and I was born in 1976 in a beautiful and cozy village on the shores of Lake Atitlán. My parents taught me how to weave and I much prefer to use the pedal loom. I love everything that is new and different, so I learned to create my own designs, which I have improved over time.
"Now, thanks to God, I have my own workshop and I have been very lucky to have receive the help of several friends. For example, a friend from Canada gave me as present different pieces of cloth with new woven patterns which I studied and managed to replicate. One of them was particularly difficult to replicate and I worked on it for hours giving it my best effort. Sometimes I would spend all night and when the sun came out I still hadn't managed to achieve my objective.
"With patience and perseverance I finally managed to do complete the weave and I felt so happy and proud!
"I dream of the day my little workshop grows a hundred times its current size so that I could offer jobs to a hundred people. Amongst my plans is to be able to contribute to my village's health and education services through my work. I hope I continue meeting people and organizations like Novica that can help me make my dreams come true, as well as the dreams of the people I work with.
"One of the most beautiful aspects about my craft, and one which poses the most enjoyable challenges, is when a client asks me to create a new design. I enjoy doing the research, making the trial samples, imagine the finish product, think of color combinations, and carrying out the new design.
"Life is my greatest source of inspiration: the hope for a better life for all, sowing good things and harvesting happiness, satisfaction and well being. I enjoy life's challenges, even when people tell me my dreams are impossible to realize. I'm inspired by the rewards and satisfactions that come when I achieve the goals I set for myself.
"My art is linked to my beloved village's roots, where 70% of the people is involved in form of art or another, especially textiles. We all learned at a very young age, which has helped us secure a dignified way of life.
"Other than weaving I also enjoy reading and volunteering in my community: at the moment I am the president of a foundation that specializes in education and health for children, women and older people. I am also studying systems engineering at university. I do all of this because one can never be too old to learn or help, so I work hard to be able to afford to pay for my studies.
"I would like to tell Novica customers that we enjoy doing our work because we know the people buying will appreciate our efforts, and will wear our designs with pride. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Because with every piece you purchase you give hope to the men and women who have suffered so much in their lifetimes, such as with the storms of 2010. We can benefit financially and so improve our living standards."