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The Teysha Journal — artisanstories

Teysha is a collective of explorers, travelers, designers, and adventurers. Take a peek behind the scenes of our handcrafted goods and our world travels.

The Land of Artisans - Guest Post by Ali Sassoon

Reflections of a trip to Guatemala By Alexandra Sassoon  “A’ Cha Pe! Jani?” “Cuánto para el bordado?” Colorfully dressed women in traditional huipils called out of their small stalls stacked high with embroideries and hand dyed textiles. The scene unfolding before me was an allusion of colors, sounds and smells as I walked down the worn cobblestone streets of Chichicastanengo; a mountain town known for it’s overwhelming Sunday markets.    As I wandered down the narrow passageways of this never-ending labyrinth of shops, vendors, and peddlers, the beauty of Guatemala unfolded before me. It was shown in every hand-stitched thread of the multicolored bordados, or embroideries I walked past. Each bolt of cloth, I soon learned, represented a different group...
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World Weavers: Chichicastenango and Utz Baj Cooperative

Ever since we started working in Guatemala, the textiles of Chichicastenango have always called out to us and fascinated us. Their vibrant colors, mountains, volcanoes, fire, rainbows, and symbols consistently amaze us!  Earlier this year, we started working with the Cooperativa Utz Baj (meaning Good Thread), to create custom patterns together. At first, we didn't know exactly how it would work out, so we went old school and printed out outlines of our boot panels, photos, and to-scale measurements, and distributed this with the women.  A couple weeks later, we came back and they totally blew us away! Not only did they make the patterns we had designed together, they innovated, added new colors and symbols, and created some of...
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Introducing the Eye of the Sky Boot

The latest collaboration coming from our World Weavers Initiative comes from the beautiful village of Chajul, Guatemala. We have been working with a talented group of ladies to design a boot that is representative of the traditional style of their village and community, while bringing in a contemporary twist.  We're thrilled to be working with Mikaela, an amazing entrepreneur in Guatemala, to coordinate and design these textiles. Whenever we start working with a new community, we have learned that one of the keys is finding what we call "La Chispita", or The Spark, to be our leader in the community. Every woman we work with is different, of course, but they all share this intense fire and drive to succeed. In...
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Behind the scenes -- Sonia's story

Persistence.   Sonia’s life is the picture of dedication and persistence. When you first meet her, she is quiet, and even seems shy, but you quickly realize she has a powerful force within her. Her mind is always focused on managing the different aspects of her business. She is beyond humble, and with each year we get to know her, we realize how infinitely limitless her potential is.  We have had the privilege of getting to know Sonia’s story over the past three years.   Persistence and humility were instilled in Sonia by her father, whose story is riddled with tragedy and determination. By age eight, he was an orphan living on the streets, taking care of his two infant brothers. He...
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