Tallando Tradiciones

Carrying on the craft of wood carving text & photo by Hilary Kilpatric “I learned my craft from watching my dad. I think I have it in my blood,” Ramos Rodrigo of Tallando Tradiciones said when asked about how he started his career as an artisan. Out of seven children in his family, he is the only of his brothers […]

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The Art of Beading

Artisan group Arco Iris gets the community of Sololá involved in the world of crafts

Artisan group Arco Iris gets the community of Sololá involved in the world of crafts text & photos by Hilary Kilpatric “I enjoy making new designs and love seeing the designs come to life in the beaded jewelry,” explains Ana Alisia, one of the artisans in the group Arco Iris. Located in Sololá, Arco Iris specializes in beadwork. The artisan […]

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Clean Sweep

Before the brooms make it to market to be sold, numerous labor-intensive steps are involved.

Hand crafting the not-so-simple palm frond broom text and photos by Kathy Rousso Palma real (royal palm) grows in Guatemala’s hot climatic regions, and many products can be made from the fronds of this tree. Custom dictates that the harvest takes place three days before the full moon, after which the fronds are dried and split into strips. The outer […]

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Guatemala’s Unique Chachales

Red beads have long held a certain fascination not just here but around the world.

A second word is chachal, Quiché for necklace. The evolution of chachales in Guatemala is a fascinating tale of history, economics and anthropology. At the time of the Conquest, Guatemala’s indigenous prized red coral as component in necklaces. As easily recoverable near-shore coral became scarce, sharp traders, chiefly in Europe, manufactured substitutes and introduced them into Guatemala as trade goods. These were almost but not always red, apparently to satisfy taste here and elsewhere.

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