Meet Adelaida, our artisan maker of the signature Chula Products fabric
In this blog we talk to Adelaida from Cooperative La Voz De Los Tz’utujiles, our artisan maker of the beautiful signature fabrics for Chula Products.
What is Cooperative La Voz De Los Tz’utujiles?
Our cooperative is a working group of weaving artisans comprised of approximately 50 to 60 women. Tz’utujil is our Mayan language and that is why the cooperative is called The Voice of The Tz’utujiles. It demonstrates our history and culture through the artisan fabric.
Adelaida spinning cotton
When was the cooperative founded?
The cooperative was established in 1988 from a desire to earn more money to support our families and publicise our talent as artisan makers. I joined the cooperative 3 years ago.
How does the the weaving process work?
In our region we make three colours of cotton: Ixcaco (brown), khaki and white. These colours stem from our heritage. For example the colour khaki represents the god of fertile lands whereas Ixcaco (taken from the word cacao) signifies indigenous skin tone. First, we have to clean the cotton, removing the seed and dirt in order to make the thread. Then we use a winch and a clay plate to spin the cotton thread several times. This makes it thinner and more resistant.
What natural dyes do you use for the La Choza Chula fabrics?
Making natural plant dye
To achieve the blue colour in the “Ocean” fabric we use the vine sacatinta which gives varying shades of indigo and blue. The yellow colour in the “Sand” comes from turmeric and the red “Sunset” fabric is derived from cochineal. We make our dyes according the phases of the moon to get different strengths of the colour.
Turmeric is used for the yellow colour
What does the future look like for weavers in Guatemala?
I think it is a great opportunity that we now have many people who appreciate the art that we make. As Guatemalans, we have a wealth of culture and I know that within the cooperative we want to make sure our children do not lose the art. The future for artisan weavers is in their hands so we are teaching them our techniques and sharing knowledge.
What changes would you like to see in the artisan weaving industry?
I would like for all of us to be reassured that we carry our cultures in our veins so that we are not discriminated against in our community or in our country. Many times this is for no other reason than that we are artisans. Sometimes people think artisans are inferior, however we are professionals for the art, the culture and the country. Other countries value and support out work, so why is that not the same in Guatemala? I would like this to change.