Jessica and Lorena
Handwoven pine needle baskets and coasters in Central America
"Our venture began in 2013 with the talented hands of artisan women who knew how to transform natural resources into crafts that convey the essence of nature.""We are Jessica Figueroa and Lorena Bianchi. We believe that dreams must begin in our hearts, are developed in our minds and are worked with our hands to become reality. Our story involves a venture that's become a dream-come-true for many Maya women in Guatemalan women.
"Imagine you are enjoying a view of green mountains, fresh air when you suddenly become aware of the forest's scent. After that, you learn that there are some artisans with magical hands that are able to create beautiful, ecological crafts from the pine needles that carry that scent.
"This is how our project began in 2013 — with the talented hands of artisan women who knew how to transform natural resources into crafts that convey the essence of nature. We travel once a week to a rural village in Western Guatemala. We work together to develop new designs and techniques to teach other women. We understand the importance of providing work opportunities to Maya women, their families and communities.
"We are currently working with more than 100 Maya women. We try to visit them once a week and make sure they are paid fairly for their work. We always try to incorporate new designs and create high quality woven items.
"This path hasn't been an easy one, but we've managed to overcome many obstacles. The women's smiles and empowered attitudes have taught us that nothing is impossible and this is priceless in our eyes.
"When we look back and remember the wonderful sight of the Guatemalan forest, the magical hands that we saw one morning and the long path we've walked together, we're very grateful for everything we've achieved. Although we are sure there'll be hard work ahead, we smile when we think about all the dreams we have yet to achieve."