Wear your heart on your shoulder with a handbag that's been artisan-crafted from colorful huipils in Guatemala. A huipil (wee-peel) is a traditional blouse worn by Mayan women in Guatemala, and to the knowledgeable observer it identifies her village, social and marital status, religious background, wealth, and individual personality. A well-woven huipil can last 20 to 30 years before it's sold at market and starts a second life as a rag, quilt, or handbag.
The color of the huipils used to produce these bags have been altered with an overdye technique in which the huipil is put into a vat of brown dye to make the many colors blend together.
- Measures 14" high x 13" wide
- Magnetic clasp closure
- Overdyed with Black or Brown cloth
- Lined with two interior pockets for added organization
Since these items are created from many different blouses, designs and styles will vary. Handmade in Guatemala and fair trade imported.
De Colores Artisan Story
Chichicastenango, Guatemala, has become one of the most important heritage centers in Guatemala during the past 10 years, due to its predominant indigenous Maya Quiche population and their traditional textile products. Yet, despite increased tourism and a renewed interest in traditional Mayan crafts, work opportunities remain few for the indigenous population, many of whom are uneducated and otherwise unemployable.
Enter De Colores Art, a local business that levels the playing field for villagers by offering free training to anyone who demonstrates the initiative to learn a trade. The company employs 30 women and 18 men to knit and embroider textile products, with the option of working at home using materials provided by the company. De Colores recognizes the culture of its Mayan employees, and as such allows flexible hours and gives time off for sowing and harvest days.
De Colores also invests in community education projects by funding two local schools in the neighboring towns of Chujupen y Pachoj, and by providing scholarships to qualifying students.
In addition to stimulating the local economy by creating new jobs, De Colores makes a conscious effort to use recycled materials whenever possible. The reason for this is twofold: to preserve Mayan culture, as recycled textiles showcase traditional knitting patterns that aren’t often seen in newer textiles, and to reduce scraps and waste.
Communities collaborate in the production process, as men work on the biggest textiles and women do the embroidery, crochet and macramé seen in smaller pieces. In some cases, in order to be competitive, sewing machines are used to assemble the finished product, although all the components are handmade and handembroidered from cotton, wool and/or silk.