Nawal Ja’ of Nahualá

The highly skilled artisans from the Nawal Ja' Cooperative create handmade pillows, wall hangings, and textiles using the brocade technique of backstrap weaving. These artisans produce complex geometric designs that are in high demand.

The Community of Nahualá

Nahualá is located high above the mountains in the department of Sololá. Nahualá is a relatively large town surrounded by smaller communities, and quite colder than the surrounding areas. The majority of in habitants are K'iche Maya and speak the native language of K'iche. This community preserves and celebrates their cultural identity by using traditional dress and speaking their native language. The women of Nahualá wear "huipiles," traditional blouses, with patterns that feature stars and represent the strength and courage of women.

History of the Nawal Ja' Cooperative

The Nawal Ja' Cooperative was founded in 2012 in order to provide economic opportunity for women in the community. Pascual Ixtó Tzoc and Manuela Macario Guarchaj are the leaders of the cooperative, and are committed to ensuring economic stability for each artisan and her family.

The Cooperative Today

This young cooperative meets regularly at the home of their leaders to discuss new orders and designs, and to further develop their internal leadership structure. The cooperative has experienced positive impact since they began to work with Maya Traditions Foundation. The female artisans are earning more money and can now better provide for their family. This cooperative's dream is to share their art and designs with individuals all over Guatemala and the world.

Take a tour in Nahualá and meet this group of artisans.

Learn more about backstrap weaving techniques here.

Professional interviews can be arranged for partners and sponsors.

img

Meet Pascuala, an artisan from the Nawal Ja' Cooperative in Nahualá