"Getting to know the stories of each of these artisans has created a strong bond between us. Our relationship transcends work — we are a family."
"To be honest, I began crafting natural fiber figurines and ornaments during a very sad time in my life. I had just separated from my husband. But since then, my work has become testimony for many women who have been through this same situation. As time passed, I learned to be a tenacious, creative, hardworking and happy woman.
"I'm Maria Isabel Gonzalez. Although I'm a dentist, I've always liked design and sewing. Dentistry goes hand in hand with very precise manual skills, which it made it easy to translate these to my craft work. When I was a little girl, I used to make my own doll clothes and I use these sewing skills today in my home décor designs.
"I really love what I do. I trust fully in the capabilities that God gives us, and this is why I’m so grateful for the ability of teaching that he has given me. Our artisans have an incredible talent for handcrafts, but many of them don't have the necessary tools. This is why I include craft forms that few people buy in my collections. Most of these come from regions of Guatemala that are vulnerable to droughts and whose people often suffer extreme poverty.
"I love my country, and I want to become an agent of change. I know that little by little I'll achieve my dream of seeing many people make progress in life. Together we can make great changes in their lives and they'll make changes in my life, too. Getting to know the stories of each of these artisans has created a strong bond between us. Our relationship transcends work — we are a family.
"One of my greatest dreams is to be able to help lots of women, especially those who are the main provider for their families. Being a woman today is not easy. We face endless adversities such as violence within the family, harassment, and gender discrimination. Because of this, I want to create opportunities to work with dignity. I've had the privilege of working with responsible woman artisans who have become passionate about their handicrafts. Many of them have worked with me during vacations and with the money they earn, they can buy their school supplies.
"I'm very proud to say that we've shown our designs in Guatemalan venues as well as in Los Angeles, Florence and Milan."