Meet Candelaria

Meet Candelaria

Meet Candelaria

Friendship Bridge client since 2005; part of Handmade by Friendship Bridge® since 2019

Candelaria grew up in the small town of Peña Blanca in the department of Sololá. The fourth of 11 children, Candelaria’s parents—a bricklayer father and weaver mother—were attentive and hard working, but needed Candelaria and some of her siblings to drop out of school to help with the household.

The Artisan’s History
At age 15, Candelaria learned to weave on a backstrap loom as well as embroider, by watching her mother. She’s skilled at producing Ikat weaving (sometimes called Jaspe), a traditional, intricate technique that dates back to the ancient Maya of pre-Colombian times, and is known in indigenous textile communities around the world. Ikat is a type of weaving in which the warp threads (vertical threads on the loom) are wrapped and dyed before weaving, creating distinct patterns within woven textiles. Guatemala’s particular Ikat technique is one of the more difficult to weave, and is a defining element of both men and women’s clothing in Sololá. Scarves Candelaria produces with the Ikat technique take her a day to hand weave just one.

The Friendship Bridge Impact

The growth of Candelaria’s business has prompted her to hire several people from her community to help fulfill orders. Thanks to Friendship Bridge, she has learned to plan, budget, invest, and save some of the profits from her business. She now produces higher-quality products which she can export, and has learned how to use social media to promote her work.

Candelaria sets goals for how much she weaves each week in order to keep up a constant supply to sell in Sololá’s public market. She hopes to own a house someday and to provide for her growing, young family.

Will you donate to support our artisans?

When you donate by July 31, your donation will be matched by a generous $3k distribution from the Marilyn Lone Endowment for Artisans.