Posts Tagged ‘artisan’

Backstrap Weaving Essentials

April 28, 2014

Education And More carries a variety of backstrap weaving items in our online store and also in our Etsy store.   If you are a beginning weaver or wanting to learn the backstrap loom we have everything you need — 3 sizes of looms, several colors of backstrap belts, naturally dyed yarn, Mayan ikat yarns,  loom bags and typical Guatemalan handcarved drop spindles.

The yarn we sell is the typical yarn used by our Mayan artisans to produce the beautiful Fair Trade weavings in our webstore.  It has been naturally dyed by them using plants, barks, vegetables, fruits, etc.  The yarn is a very fine cotton yarn similar to 18/2 here in the States and produces extremely durable, long lasting  and exquisite textiles.

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If you would like to have an example of a warped up backstrap loom to look at when you are learning to weave, then look at our decorative looms that are a perfect wall decoration as well as being a perfect sample of warping.

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Ikat yarns are used frequently by our Mayan friends in their weavings to add a unique design element.  We have several colors of the ikat in our webstore also.  Be sure to look closely at the weavings in our store to see all the different ikat designed textiles we carry.t22c

One of our popular items is our loom bags.  The fabric for these duffel style bags is handwoven on a backstrap loom then sewn by the artisans and is a perfect bag for carrying your ‘work in progress’  or storing your loom!

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We carry 3 sizes of backstrap looms — 8 inch, 12 inch, and the large is 18 inch.  They have been hand carved by a Mayan artisan who supports his family with sales of his handcarved looms.  He lives near the top of a volcanic mountain in the western highlands of Guatemala in a small village and carves the rustic looms for local sales as well as his sales to Education And More.  He receives a fair trade income  from E&M  for all the looms we purchase and it helps his family in so many ways.

Stop by and see  all our hand weaving accessories!

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Young Lady Needing Sponsorship To Finish School

January 19, 2014

We have a young lady, the daughter of one of our artisans, who is really in need of a sponsorship to finish her last year of high school and then to be able to go on to the university.  Laura hopes to be able to attend the university but she knows without help she will probably be unable to go on to the university.

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Laura and her siblings

She is the oldest in her family of 7 children.  Many parents in the rural areas of Guatemala expect their daughters to forgo advanced education and to stay home and take care of their younger siblings but Laura’s parents want their children, their daughters too, to go as far with their education as possible.

We have had Laura in our program waiting for a sponsorship for over a year so we are making a special request to try to find her a sponsor.  She is a very bright and personable young lady and will do very well if she is able to continue her education.  She knows that a better education  is the only way that she will be able find a job in the future.

For more information please email us at more info@educationandmore.org

You can learn more about our sponsorship program on our website.

Laura, on the right

Laura, on the right

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Fair Trade Benefits Our Artisans

May 20, 2012

Juan and his family are extremely poor.

They live in a small, poor village on one of the mountains near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Juan and his wife are illiterate but he has a skill that gives him a little income to help his family– he carves backstrap looms by hand.  Backstrap looms are used by most of the Mayan women to weave all types of fabric for household use and to also make clothing.  However, backstrap looms last a long time so Juan’s sales are not great because women don’t need to replace them very often.

Juan and his wife have 13 children and they live in a one room home with a dirt floor kitchen attached.

We have talked with Juan and his wife about their needs and the first thing they mentioned was a new house or repairs to their present house.  The second thing they talked of was needing sufficient food for their children. The third item was help with sending their children to school.

Our work with the artisans not only gives them dignity in their work and in receiving a fair wage for that work but with the profits that we have from selling their products we return it to Guatemala to help better the lives of the artisans and their families.

Juan is a humble man – he doesn’t want handouts but really wants to work. With his carving work  and the extra benefits through our Fair Trade work, we are hoping to help  Juan and his family.

We would like to thank all our customers that have bought Juan’s backstrap looms!  Every sale helps him and his family earn money to be able to live a little better!

If you would like to help support our project for Educational Support of our artisan families please donate to our Educational Support Fund or sponsor one of Juan’s children to attend school.

If you would like to order one of Juan’s handcarved looms check out our webstore or order any one of our other Fair Trade products to help another artisan!

Helping Those Less Fortunate

May 10, 2012

Are you curious about our projects in Guatemala?  We have several projects and many ways in which you can help  those that are less fortunate than you.

Our new projects are:

Sweaters, Socks and Bibles project –  We are raising funds to purchase new sweaters, socks and Bibles for each of our artisan groups.  Many of the women have only one sweater to wear when it is cold and that sweater is usually very ragged.  We want to purchase new sweaters for all  90 women artisans that are in our groups.  The children wear socks if they have any but usually they do not own any or maybe have one pair, so we want to provide the children of our artisans with new socks — that is 129 children!   Our artisans speak 3 different Mayan languages – 1 group speaks Queche, 3 groups speak Kakchiquel and 2 groups speak T’zutujil – with very few of the artisans speaking  Spanish and on top of these language barriers most of the women are illiterate.  We want to provide the Bible in audio format in their own language and in Spanish so they will have it to listen to in their homes.  We need funds to help with this — won’t you help?

Vacation Bible School project – We are raising funds to have VBS programs for the children at each of our groups.  We will need VBS materials, craft projects materials, Bibles, translators, mission teams  plus much more to make this a continuing effort in the coming years. We would love to have two programs each year with each artisan group. These VBS programs will help the children learn about Jesus and His love for them and will also provide materials for them to practice their reading and writing.  Most children do not have books to read or other materials to learn skills necessary to improve their education and we hope to be able to provide some help through VBS classes.   We need funds to help with this — won’t you help?

Sewing Centers – We have identified another of our artisan groups that need our help with a sewing center.  We hope to provide a new building for a sewing center along with sewing classes for this group in the coming year.  This group was devastated with a tropical storm a couple of years ago and lost nearly all of their homes, their workshop, their looms — nearly everything.  We need funds to help with this — won’t you help?

Our ongoing projects in which we need help —

Fair Trade Handcraft Sales / Bazaars –  Now you can help the artisans in our Fair Trade women’s groups by volunteering to sell their Fair Trade handcrafts. Hosting a Fair Trade sale/ bazaar at your church, office, community center or in your home can benefit the women because every sale improves their lives by giving them more income to help support their families.  Email us for more information through our website contact page.

School Supplies project – If your group would like to collect basic school supplies for the students,we will distribute them to the children of our artisan groups.  It costs several thousand dollars to purchase needed school supplies for all the children.  Many of these children cannot go to school because of a lack of school supplies.  Also please consider donating used or new laptop computers to Education And More. We want to supply the older students in our Sponsorship program with a computer so they can benefit from technology as they continue their education.

Fundraising Project – Looking for ways to raise money for a youth trip or for your women’s programs?  We have several different fundraisers available to help you raise money and at the same time help artisans in Guatemala support their families. Hacky sack balls, ID Badgeholders, Friendship bracelets, Beaded bracelets and Neck Scarves — are a few of the fundraisers available for you to help your group and help families in Guatemala. Email us for more information.

Educational Support project – In addition to our Sponsorship Program, Education And More   helps many students attend school by providing their school supplies, backpacks and often by giving new school shoes and clothing and school fees.  Many of the children in Guatemala need this help or they are unable to attend school.  Please consider donating to our Educational Support project so that we can help even more children or get your Sunday School group or your women’s group involved in raising funds for the students.

Student needing help with school expenses.

Dinner Time!

April 21, 2012

Our artisan groups are so typical of women around the world that I just have to smile about our behavior whenever we gather.  Just like in my home if company stops by we will share our meal and table with our friends.

A delicious lunch of vegetable soup and tamalitos!

Whenever we are working at one of the groups and it is close to lunch time you can be assured of them having a meal ready for you.  We have had huge feasts and sometimes if it is after the typical lunch time or early for lunch they will serve us a bottle of pure water or soda pop and a piece of cake or other snack.

Cooking a huge pot of chicken and vegetables for us!

We visit the groups often and have gotten into the practice of trying to time our visits so they don’t feel obligated to serve a meal because no matter how often I tell them that we don’t want or don’t have time for a meal — it will almost always be waiting for us.

They always made it special by putting down a nice weaving as a tablecloth!

Our artisans friends never sit at the table with us. They serve us and then take their food somewhere else to sit and eat -- a cultural difference.

We have always enjoyed getting to know our artisans better with each visit as we all get better acquainted and  realize that we all have the same basic hopes and desires for the future and for our families and look forward to giving our guests the best of what we have in our homes.

Today one of the chickens was killed for a lunch time feast — a delicious soup along with homemade tortillas and lots of laughter and chatting.  Ahhh!  Friends!

Making tortillas by hand.

Did You Know????

January 8, 2012

Do you know that with the help of our donors, supporters and volunteers, Education And More is able to help approximately:

* 200 children attend school

*80 women earn a Fair Trade income

*40 women attend sewing classes to acquire skills for a better future

*400 men, women and children have better nutrition and health care because of the Fair Trade wages received

We really appreciate all our supporters helping us make all of this possible!

Would you like to help?  Check out our website to see how you can get involved!