Borucan women in Guatemala

Boruca visit in Guatemala - Photo by Susan Atkinson

Boruca visit in Guatemala – Photo by Susan Atkinson

Susan Atkinson, from the Pacific Edge Eco Lodge, took three Boruca ladies to Guatemala to meet their homologues.  From Guatemala City, they traveled to Chichicastenango, where every Thursday morning the largest native market in Central America takes place.  In the afternoon, they went to San Juan, near to Lake Atitlan, with the purpose of visiting several groups of weavers, some of them using natural dyes.  They stayed for three days at the village.

When they arrived at “Artesanos de San Juan,” Juana and Elena welcomed them, and for the next two days, these two ladies  focused on teaching Marina, Adriana, and Idania  the art of measuring the yarn, putting it on the loom, threading the heddles into the reed, and then weaving. The floor looms with two pedals from Guatemala, only produce basic textile.

The Boruca girls soon realized that their looms (which they had only recently acquired with Susan´s help) have six pedals, and could produce unlimited patterns. This was a valuable learning experience for them. At the end of the two days, they had woven 2 meters of fabric, half of it made by Mayans and half made by Borucans. It was a real exchange of cultures!

They also visited the Association of women using natural dyes. Socorro, a 60-years old lady, received a gold medal from Guatemala´s president for being the best artesian. With great excitement, Marina and Socorro talked for hours about the natural pigment process, the herbs, seeds, leaves, barks, ash, and shells that they use for dyeing, knowledge they inherited from their grandmothers. Marina mentioned she had no idea that someone else than the Borucan knew about the same dyeing processes.

Exchange of skills - Guatemala - Photo by Susan Atkinson

Exchange of skills – Guatemala – Photo by Susan Atkinson

On Lake Atitlan, they visited the town of Panajachel, where Marina and her daughters saw a variety of attractive products that generated ideas for the different creations they will be producing in Boruca.  “The Thirteen Threads Center” is located in the same village, it distributes Mayan goods to various sellers in the US and Europe.

This trip is a “dream come true,” says Susan.  “We have already started our next project, which is to participate in the Santa Fe Folk Art Market in July 2013.  This is the largest Traditional Folk Art Market in the US with over 135 artists from 49 different countries across six continents, and it is for time Costa Rica to be represented.”

Posted in Art & Culture, Indigenous People and tagged .