Gotitas de Pino
Weaving pine needles into beautiful baskets and other objects creates income for this small rural town
“In my community we all have many dreams, and selling our crafts helps us to see that realizing our goals are not impossible anymore,” explained Lydia López, a member of the group Gotitas de Pino.
The members of Gotitas de Pino live in a tiny rural town in the cloud forests of eastern Guatemala, an area renowned for its natural beauty. While the town is rich in natural resources, economic resources are much harder to come by. However, the artisan group Gotitas de Pino, made up of 19 women and one man, is working to turn some of these natural resources into income to help their families.
The group specializes in weaving pine needles into an amazing variety of creations. Pine needles are widely used in Guatemala. Traditionally, they are woven into rugs to cover floors during festive occasions, offering not only a nice decorative touch but also unique fragrance to these celebratory moments.
With pine trees surrounding the cloud-forest town, the artisans of Gotitas de Pino have a long tradition of weaving pine needles. To obtain their raw materials, all they need to do is gather the needles from the forest floor and buy the thread.
The artisans go out in groups to collect the pine needles. Once they have enough, they take their collection to one of their houses, where they select and clean the best needles. Then they leave them out to dry in the sun. Once the pine needles are dry, the women can start creating.
“We really enjoy weaving the pine needles, little by little giving it the shape we envisioned in our minds,” says Gladys Pérez, one of the youngest members of the group. Gladys’ mother and sister are also members of Gotitas de Pino, and she enjoys the fact that they all participate.
“I really like the way we work together. We all get the same materials and we weave at home without disregarding our usual responsibilities,” explains Rosa, one of the group’s leaders.
This is one important reason why the group has been successful. Women in rural Guatemala are responsible for all household chores, and with an average of eight children per household, free time is scarce. However, being able to weave at home in their precious free time allows them to be productive without neglecting their duties as mothers and wives.
“In my family we are six women and one man,” Gladys says. “Our mother taught us to weave pine needles as we were growing up. We wove everything from little things to bigger baskets, hoping we could eventually sell them. I remember the time I wove a vase, which I liked so much I wanted to keep it. Then I decided to weave more so I could sell them, and I felt so proud to see they were well accepted by clients. It meant I could finally contribute to the family’s finances.”
Pine products made by Gotitas de Pino can be found in La Antigua at Casa de los Gigantes, 7a calle oriente #18, across the street from the San Francisco Church.