"The fabrics we create are similar to the cloth made 500 years ago. Thus, our work represents a cultural legacy."
"My name is Casimira and I'm very happy to share the story of Las Orquideas — 'The Orchids' — a weavers' group formed in Western Guatemala in 2011. Our town is known for its weaving on traditional the floor loom, and an ikat technique, known as jaspé.
"Jaspé is a complicated technique of tie-dying the threads before they are placed on the looms to create predetermined patterns. We learned this from our mothers and grandmothers. Our looms are different from backstrap looms, in which the weaver kneels and leans backward and forward to loosen and tighten the tension. We weave while standing.
"Jaspé fabric is a traditional textile which we use for our clothing and rebozos. The patterns and motifs are meaningful in our culture, religion and society. They represent our flora and fauna.
"We love our work and are actively supporting the effort to rescue and perpetuate our traditional Maya weaving. Our textile techniques date back to the pre-Hispanic and pre-colonial eras. The fabrics we create are similar to the cloth made 500 years ago. Thus, our work represents a cultural legacy.
"Currently, our group has more than 50 artisans and nearly all of us are women. Since we formed the group, our family incomes have increased, our quality of life has improved and we feel very proud because people around the country recognize our textile artistry."