I began Colores del Pueblo in 1997 from the ashes of Pueblo to People. Pueblo to People had started in 1979 as a non-profit organization to assist Latin American artisans to find a market for their finely made crafts. Due to a combination of factors, they ceased to exist in 1997. I had worked with them for 3 1/2 years and had come to know and love many of the artisans and their families and thus, decided to carry on the mission. We started small, working with some of the cooperatives that didn't have other outlets for sales.
Since 1997 we have taken on a number of new cooperatives - mostly groups of Mayan women weavers. Since textiles are my passion, I feel very privileged to work with such fine artisans and I hope, that by allowing them to earn a fair wage for their work, that they will be encouraged to continue the ancient tradition of back-strap weaving and treadle-loom weaving. We are members of the Fair Trade Federation and seek to promote a more socially and economically just trading system.
In all of the villages where I have worked, it is evident that many of the craft traditions and cultural traditions are slowly disappearing. Women may still wear their traditional huipiles and cortes, but the significance of the symbolism in the weaving is being lost. Poverty and illiteracy along with inadequate access to health care still plague the indigenous people. Yet their pride is intact in their rich cultural heritage. I hope that in a small but significant way, that we may continue to foster empowerment of the Mayan community.
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