Centuries ago, the Maya people created a civilization mastering astronomy, architecture, a complex writing system and love of the arts. The Maya civilization collapsed mysteriously but the people and their arts survived.
Today Maya women tell their stories in their weaving. They use centuries-old techniques weaving on the traditional backstrap loom and tell their history, ethnic identity and ancient myths through their designs.
According to legend, the goddess Itzam came down to Earth as she saw people suffering from the cold because they did not have clothes. She tried to teach a woman how to weave but she did not understand. Itzam saw a spider weaving its web and told the woman to watch how the spider worked. That way, the woman understood the essence of weaving. Today, some weavers of traditional trajes include in their design a woven or embroidered symbol in the shape of a spider’s web reminding us of this myth telling of the origin of backstrap loom weaving.
The art of weaving has always been an important part of daily life, not only to provide clothing but also as a means of exchange, payment or gifts and as part of civic and religious ceremonies.
This art is passed on from generation to generation as young girls become weavers by watching their mothers, continuing the Maya culture and traditions of their ancestors.
Where Do We Source Products?
Many of our products are sourced from organized cooperatives funded by foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs). There are individuals and associations working to help a dwindling number of weavers find support and the means to achieve success. These groups set the pricing for the artists based on the cost of materials, hours worked, cost of labor and the value of comparable products in the global market.
We also purchase products from artists selling independently at local markets. They often endure long journeys to reach their market destination. They may be forced to decide between selling cheap today to have money to purchase food or go hungry and return to the market another day hoping to sell at a fairer price.
We honor fair trade principles of fair pricing, good working conditions, no forced labor and respect for the worker. Most artists cannot afford the high cost of Fair Trade certification which usually applies to food commodities such as coffee.
Studio Maya supports cooperatives, families and individuals through your purchases. We are committed to using any profits to purchase artisanal products and thank you for your support.