Fiesta Placemat - Red
Made in Guatemala
by women weavers preserving techniques
Mix and match this placemat with our napkins to achieve your ideal color palette. It’s hand-woven from cotton and can add a pop of color to any table setting. Every purchase supports Mayan Hands artisans in Guatemala.
Handwoven 100% Cotton Woven Mayan Placemat, Fair Trade | Red
- Approximately 20" x 14.5"
- 100% cotton
- As with all handmade items, slight variations will occur
- Care instructions: Cold water wash, tumble dry low
Mayan Hands, founded in 1989, partners with approximately 200 female weavers across different communities around the western and northern highlands of Guatemala. Most of the female artisans have no more than a third grade education, are illiterate, and speak native languages rather than Spanish. Fieldworkers of Mayan Hands are committed to and involved in their relationship with these women, which enables a positive fair trade experience for both groups. Their products are made with the same techniques used to make the women’s blouses called huipiles, and the designs are also based on US market trends, thus making Mayan Hands’ a combination of the traditional and the modern. Your purchase allows these talented weavers to earn an income to feed their families and send their children to school, while preserving their cultural traditions.
Backstrap weaving is an ancient art form that has been used around the world for generations and is still used in many regions today. Several of The Little Market’s artisan partners in Guatemala use this technique to weave the beautiful textiles used to make some of our most popular products, including overnight bags, luggage tags, and pillows. These intricate products tell a rich cultural story, while supporting the talented women who weave them.
The loom used for backstrap weaving is simple and portable, often made by the weavers themselves using wooden rods. One end is tied to a tree or post, while the other end is secured to the weaver’s waist using a strap — hence the name “backstrap loom.”
To create the colorful products, raw wool or cotton is first washed, combed, spun, and then stretched across the loom. The loom holds the lengthwise threads taut while the weaver passes a crosswise thread between them. As the cloth is being woven, colorful threads are added to create the intricate patterns. The weaver may use natural dyes, created from plants, insects, flowers, and berries.
Guatemala, the “land of the forests” is an alive and ancestral country whose history dates from four thousand years ago when the Mayan civilization emerged. Its legacy is still evident in its extraordinary cultural richness, which is reflected in the colorful handicraft markets and regional costumes, its hospitality, and the beauty of the landscapes that frame the volcanoes, lakes, rivers, and mountains. Today 21 different ethnic groups of Mayan, Ladinos, Garifunas, and Xincas have all contributed to Guatemalan customs and traditions. The handicrafts are an expression of the Guatemalan culture: handmade, colorful textiles, carved wood, silver, jade jewelry, candles, pottery, blown glass, leather articles, and many more handicrafts that characterize the cultural diversity of this small, but wonderful country.
Fair Trade Products
Fair Trade is an approach to international trade centered around equitable partnerships, transparency and respect. It seeks to empower marginalized producers by providing them safe working conditions, fair pay, and a means to establish a sustainable business free from exploitation. As a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we are committed to the Fair Trade principles.