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Arrive and Thrive
Arrive and Thrive

I always get excited when I see the Arrivals sign at the airport: the sense of joyful anticipation in watching for specific faces in the crowds emerging, the delight of reunions. Up in the air, the passengers have started to gather their things, freshen up, and fasten their seat belts in preparation for landing.

Arrival. Destination reached.

Here at Unique Batik, the arrival of new merchandise from Guatemala and elsewhere always causes great excitement as well! The journey of our garments, bags, and jewelry, from the artisans to Raleigh, is a road strewn with obstacles. Anything from roadblocks or road washouts to volcanoes erupting or bureaucratic hurdles can be expected.

At this point of our calendar year, we are entering the season of Advent. 

advent candle

The word "advent" means to arrive and is generally used to signify the arrival of an event. In Christian circles around the world, Advent refers to a four-week season celebrating the arrival of Jesus Christ on earth many centuries ago.

Advent is also a season to focus on four topics, one per week leading up to Christmas: Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy. Four Advent candles are lit in Advent wreaths as the countdown raises enthusiasm and longing.

Our unique holiday traditions are handed down from one generation to another. The specific customs around festivals are simultaneously the distinguishing and unifying elements in families and cultures.

christmas tree deco

One such practice in America is decorating an evergreen tree the week after Thanksgiving. The boxes of tinsel and lights come down from the attic, and many memories are revisited as each item is unwrapped. The rich history of this tradition is a fascinating read. 

Take a look at these magnificent decorations from Unique Batik:


super starangel

“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition, and myth frame our response.” (Arthur M. Schlesinger)

Indeed. Our emotions fray as we speed to the conclusion of 2023. And I am aware of the dread these holidays can conjure. However, helpful traditions can frame healthier responses. Think about your family's holiday customs for a minute. Do they draw your attention to deeper realities than the commercial overload this season often induces? (Feel free to share any in the comments below.)

Dread is the opposite of expectancy.

Jeff Hutchings shares a fresh insight by connecting the upcoming holidays: “Thanksgiving is like an appetizer for Advent... Thankfulness is the perfect soil for expectancy.” Read the article here.

Here is how you connect the dots: Reflect on the past ten months. Remember. Count the gifts. Give thanks. Share gifts. Fill up on hope.

A way to let off the pressure as we descend onto the tarmac.


What Does Weaving Have to Do with Algorithms?
What Does Weaving Have to Do with Algorithms?

We weave in and out of traffic. Stories are experiences woven together. Long hair, baskets, and dough are braided. Knitting and crocheting are basically weaving with yarns.

But when we speak about weaving here, it's in the context of textiles, the interlacing of fibrous threads to create fabric. Every piece of clothing on your body is woven fabric. The sheets you sleep on, bath towels and dishtowels, rugs, curtains, table linens. Living as we do in the modern age, most of us are oblivious to the intricate processes involved in manufacturing the items we daily use and enjoy.


Fabric is one such article commonly utilized and taken for granted.

Imagine yourself in 6000 BC, in need of a blanket or shirt. After planting and harvesting, you spin natural fibers like cotton or flax into threads. Or you twist sheared sheep wool or manipulate silkworms to obtain yarn. If you are feeling creative, you dye some of the threads with plant or insect extracts in order to incorporate a design in the weaving. For the next few days or weeks, you patiently insert the transverse weft yarn over and under the tightly stretched lengthwise warp yarn. Back and forth. Painstakingly slow. Mesmerizingly meditative.

egyptian weaving

Due to the use of fragile organic materials, we have no samples of these early woven pieces, as we do of ancient pottery shards. Tombs in Egypt unveiled fragments of woven textile, preserved in the dry climate of the sandy desert, as well as a 5000-year-old terracotta plate depicting women weaving on a vertical loom.

The basic need for cover meant that a loom featured prominently in households everywhere, and the skill was passed on to each new generation. As an art form woven pieces also communicated cultural values, traditions, and personal emblems. The care, skill, and time it took to create a weaving enhanced its value, affording extra income or means of trade. Weaving remained the unique product of time-consuming manual operation for centuries.

Similar to what happened with most “cottage industries” during the Industrial Revolution, the demand for mass production required the mechanization of looms. Thus, in 1786, the first power loom was introduced. This machine enabled a faster weaving process and larger output but came with certain limitations. One important feature, the weaving of complicated designs and textured fabric, remained a manual operation.



Several decades later, French entrepreneur JM Jacquard, built an attachment to the loom that used interchangeable perforated cards to guide the warp threads automatically. A desired pattern could be woven by simply changing the cards, effectively automatizing even complex weaving.

jacquard loom

An English inventor, Charles Babbage, adopted the idea of punch cards in 1837 to store programs in his “Analytical Engine”, a proposed general-purpose computer. Mathematician Ada Lovelace recognized the symbol-manipulating potential of Babbage’s computational machine. "We may say most aptly that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns just as the Jacquard-loom weaves flowers and leaves," she noted. Before the same century ended, an American inventor designed a tabulating machine to input data for the 1890 US Census. Punch cards were used in digital computing for close to another 100 years until electronic devices replaced them.


Mayan weaving

While punch cards and antique looms populate museum exhibits in fast-paced modern societies, manual weaving is still widely practiced as it has been for millennia in many cultures. In these places, everyday garments and house linens are still exclusively made with fabric woven on traditional looms.

The rhythmic sound of the wooden treadle
The muted thud of reed against breast beam
The soft claps of hands shaping tortillas
The daily symphony in a Mayan household.

As part of their traditional outfit, the Mayan women of Guatemala wear a skirt known as a “corte”. It is similar to a wrap-around skirt, except three times as much fabric is involved. It is generally the work of men to weave the 7-meter-long piece on bulky treadle looms. In dressing, the women wrap the fabric around, around, and around the lower half of the body and secure it with a decorative girdle. The final ensemble resembles a long, straight pencil skirt, which you can imagine being very restrictive. Till you encounter the same women in traditional dress on a steep mountain trail: sure-footed, graceful, and confident like a mountain goat!

mayan women on trail

The quality of these woven skirts is undeniable. Even used and discarded pieces are highly valued and repurposed. If you think of the hours that went into handwoven textiles, prolonging their lifespan in every possible format is a way to honor the ancient craft of weaving.

Here are some of our unique re-creations of Mayan "corte":


Sustainable Corte overalls  Buy here

explorer bag

Explorer bag from repurposed corte  Buy here

tourist bag

Corte turned Tourist Bag!  Buy here


Keep up with what “looms ahead” in the textile world.

More on the history of weaving:

To see the fascinating connection between weaving and algorithms:

The artist Ahree Lee, in an exhibit called Pattern:Code, connects the history of women in crafts to their role in computing. Worth a look here:

Who's Going Back to School?
Who's Going Back to School?

Can you remember your first day in kindergarten? Your first class in college?

I was six years old on my first day in a formal school setting.


sub a

Those days first grade was called Sub A in South Africa. Three front teeth missing, two braids, a brand-new uniform a few sizes too big, an empty bookcase (the boxy kind), and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich wrapped in wax paper. Me being the firstborn, this was a well-photographed threshold in my development, and everyone in the family was equally excited. Our house was across the street from the primary school. My mom walked with me to the classroom on the hill, where many of the little faces were tear-stained as the new students clung to their mothers' legs in trepidation of the looming separation.

Not me.

“You can leave now, Mommy. I’m not a crybaby.” (My mom was quite offended by my declaration of independence that day.)



Twelve years later, an immature 18-year-old emerged, again without tears because I was happy to be “free”.  For a long time, I was ignorant of the benefits I gained by my enrollment year after year. Only after I met young people from different backgrounds for whom formal education was an impossible dream did I realize the extraordinary bonus of having parents and teachers investing in me. The necessary skills for learning that attending school equipped me with, like reading, concentration, and endurance, continue to bear fruit today. 

However imperfectly a traditional school system performs, the mere access to a world of knowledge and opportunities for growth that they provide justifies its vital existence in our communities. We often remember and talk about the positive influence of dedicated teachers in our formative years. 


So, who is going BACK to school these days?

Most to be admired and cheered are the individuals who return to college as adults in their second half of life. A friend of mine went to nursing school as a single mom in her late 30s, graduated, and celebrated with a backpacking trip in Europe! 

Distance learning became necessary during the lockdowns of the last few years and continues gaining momentum. The number of learners enrolling in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) increased from 300,000 to 220 million in the decade between 2011 and 2021. Even so, most students will get on the bus or a bicycle, walk, drive, or be driven to a schoolhouse this month.

We have heard,  “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  Yet we know that filling bags with textbooks and computers is the reality all students deal with daily. At Unique Batik we offer a range of bags for this very purpose. Buying your bags here will enable a Guatemalan student to plan on going back to school too!



Approximately 5% of high school students in the US do not graduate, and the drop-out rate for college students is around 40%.  In striking contrast, the financial limitations and a general lack of motivation in Guatemala mean that 41% of teenagers (aged 13-18) do not attend school. Only 10% of youth enroll in college education.  Fortunately, several non-profits in Guatemala are focusing on changing this trend.  I have interacted with some of these organizations and have seen firsthand the impact of mentorship and practical friendship. Forging My Tomorrow is the brainchild of a dynamic Mayan couple in Panajachel. This leadership and mentoring program has been the instrument of breaking cycles of poverty and ignorance for many families in rural Guatemala. Read about their work here.


“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” (Sydney, J Harris, American journalist for the Chicago Daily News)

And that is what any worthwhile education will do: develop the skills to see. To peer through to the expansive beyond, instead of fixating on the smallness of self.

To Tote, To Lug, Or To Shoulder. That Is the Question.
To Tote, To Lug, Or To Shoulder. That Is the Question.

These days you can explore virtually any place on Earth or under the oceans without getting up from your couch. Travel vlogs and blogs abound. Google Earth can zoom you to even the remotest locations for a 3D view, a street view, or a bird’s eye view.  Very little is left for the imagination.  Minimal risk and expense. Zero suffering.



Yet, as many who wander agree, virtual experiences pale against the thrill of live encounters in foreign contexts. To have your own adventure, to overcome the fear of the unknown, to live to tell the story – this is why we get up and go.  For us, new friendships and firsthand knowledge far outweigh any awkward discomforts or hair-raising challenges. Adventure, fortune, chance, risk, and wonder - these words all share the same root. The same sense of momentum lurks in the word Advent as well.  Advent on the Christian calendar celebrates the arrival of Christ.

An anonymous 16th-century Danish educator wrote, "Go, my sons. Burn your books. Get away to the mountains, the valleys, the shores of the seas, the deserts, and the deepest recesses of the earth.  In this way and no other, will you find true knowledge of things and their properties."



When you do head out for the open road, you very well need to consider luggage to transport your essentials. (Evidently, the word originates from a Middle English word which meant to pull by the hair or ear!)

mary poppins

Long before suitcases on wheels enabled us to conveniently drag or pull our stuff around airports, carpet bags were the common carryalls of travelers. Does anyone remember Mary Poppins’ ever-present wondrous bag?  “The carpet bag was invented as a type of inexpensive personal baggage, light enough for a passenger to carry, like a duffel bag, as opposed to a large rigid wooden or metal trunk, which required the assistance of porters.”  ( Often these decorative bags were made from cut-off pieces of oriental rugs, and depending on the design, could also open flat and serve as a blanket.



After the Civil War, many opportunistic Northerners traveled to the South seeking private financial or political gain. People in the South feared exploitation and referred to them as carpetbaggers because they typically arrived with their belongings in carpetbags. Today the term stands for political candidates who seek elections where they have no local connections.

The exploitation of artisans in developing countries is still a matter of deep concern. This is why, as a registered fair trade company, Unique Batik is committed to operating in a manner that guarantees a sustained welcome on both sides. Our relationships with the artisans in Guatemala, Ghana, and Thailand have morphed into the dearest friendships over decades of trade.

The various travel bags we sell resemble the carpetbag tradition. Woven and embroidered cloth pieces are made into fashionable luggage, with styles and sizes for every kind of passenger.



Which bag do you grab when packing for a trip?

Our bag contest is on!  

Of the four styles depicted below, do you have a go-to?  Click on each picture to see the bags we offer in that style. Then, in the space for comments at the end of this blog, write the word sling, tote, backpack, or messenger. 

On August 31, we'll draw three lucky responders, each of whom will win a bag in the style of their vote.

tricolor sling bag


wild blossom embroidered tote bag


zunil cotton backpack


trashy messenger bag


Independence: What's It to You?
Independence: What's It to You?

A holiday means you can sleep in today. Or not.

Ear-shattering machine-gun-like percussion jerks you from slumber before the day breaks. Incessant whistle blows, and cheering over a megaphone follows. Torch-runners arrive in the village after running all night. The annual celebration of Guatemala’s independence from Spain is in full swing.

Across the Atlantic in West Africa, the national flag flies high on March 6th as our Ghanaian friends tune their trumpets and guitars in preparation for the parades and carnival to commemorate their country’s freedom, the first sub-Saharan nation to gain independence (1957). The family gathers to enjoy traditional food like waakye (rice & beans) and kenkey (sourdough dumplings).

And if you happen to wake up in Thailand on December 5th, a gentle prayer ceremony followed by renditions of the national anthem announces their independence festivities. The rest of the day is loud with flamboyant and ostentatious pageantry.


And what of fireworks? A standard crowd-pleaser everywhere in the world, no expense is spared to light up the sky when celebrating freedom. (They say the first fireworks were bamboo stalks that the Chinese threw in the fire, which exploded loudly as the hollow air pockets heated up.)

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” So Emma Lazarus’ words ring out over the Hudson.


What is this yearning? Do you recognize it? What would you give up for it?

INDEPENDENCE literally means “not hanging from.” The idea invokes sentiments of self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and autonomy. Liberty.

(Pendere is the root meaning to weigh, estimate, or pay, from which we get words like pendant, pending, and appendage.)

A strong desire for freedom is evident in all of us from a young age. Have you ever observed toddlers testing the boundaries and exerting their will forcefully as soon as they can sit up? A reach for self-determination seems wired into our DNA. And, especially in America, this freedom is highly valued and encouraged.

The reality, though, for countless individuals worldwide, is quite the opposite. Economic and political restraints leave them “hanging” year after year. Dependence on handouts leaves people stuck in suffocating patterns. Their self-determination weakens, and their creativity suffers.


“For everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.” (Albert Einstein)

That is why the stories of the artisans with whom Unique Batik does business are worth celebrating. They have reached beyond their grasp, attaining levels of financial independence that were unimaginable to their parents. This achievement is especially significant where women entrepreneurs succeed in places where their contributions have been strictly limited traditionally. Read about Diego, Carmelita, and Luisa.


We watch them emerge as rulers, as per their original design.

us flag

It was a woman who created the first Star-Spangled Banner. Mary Pickersgill took up flag-making when she became a widow at a young age. Her business eventually supported a household of women whom she trained as seamstresses.

It is important to note that these artists-heroes didn’t drift into freedom. Similarly, our treasured American rights would have remained a hollow dream if it wasn’t for the risks and sacrifices of individuals and communities. By disciplined choices, sustained efforts, and stubborn endurance, they were able to create a fulfilling life for themselves and their families. Epictetus, an ancient Greek philosopher, claimed,


“No man is free who is not master of himself.”

Furthermore, to gain freedom, reliance on multiple networks and the community is paramount. In other words, independence is not individualism.

Which fact connects you, the customer, in a beautiful symbiosis with the families of artists around the globe.

The words in the Declaration of Independence adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776, which takes 18 minutes to read, were a bold line in the sand. A unanimous decision to stand against what the colonists perceived and experienced as oppression and tyranny. They did it TOGETHER, fully informed of the RISKS.

So, on this day, savor every free breath you take and tip your hat to our celebrated heroes, past and present. Then, consider your inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – yours and your neighbors. And vote with your feet.

Freedom is never free.
Respect our liberty.
Enjoy its many rights.
Expect it may cause fights.
Democracy survives,
Only if backed with lives.
May we not let it die.
(Bartholomew Williams)

What Makes a Bird a Bird?
What Makes a Bird a Bird?

Ubiquitous and radiant, birds are true wildlife anyone can observe without flying to remote jungles. Since their presence is so commonplace, it is easy to be unaware of their magic. Yet they have the potential to mesmerize anyone sitting still long enough.


Stop and marvel

I only started paying attention when I lived on a forested hill in Guatemala in my forties. (Guatemala boasts more than 700 bird species.) Trills and choruses, flashes of vibrant colors, and leafy branches alive with feasting flocks were a compelling distraction right outside my windows. My curiosity was piqued. I wanted to know their names, to get closer looks through binoculars, and to keep a journal of my “sightings.” Fortunately, I knew the phone number of a phenomenal local guide, who graciously helped me with the correct identifications. Few moments in my life match the breathless awe I experienced the first time I saw the elusive Resplendent Quetzal in an impressive courting display on the slopes of the Atitlan volcano. Spiraling and plunging with his long tail feathers rippling like ribbons: the sight brought me to tears!


Find out more about Guatemala's national bird, including audio of its distinct call here.



This is what distinguishes birds from other vertebrates. Feathers are fundamental to many aspects of a bird’s life. They function as insulation, aerodynamic power for flying, communication, as well as camouflage. 

Their colorful feathers are what inspire the women of Guatemala to embroider their blouses with bird images.

The town of Santiago Atitlan’s original Mayan name is Tz’Kin Jay, House of the Birds. It follows then that the characteristic patterns on traditional textiles here are of birds. Long ago geometric designs of herons, ducks, two-headed eagles, people, and corn plants were popular.

modern Atitlan

Over time, their embroidery developed to include finer details of birds. These days women tend to pay more attention to their surroundings when they pick coffee in the mountains, especially noticing the rich bird life among the trees. The embroidered great blue herons, painted buntings, and summer tanagers on their blouses would win all the blue ribbons at county fairs, in my opinion.


Example of modern-day designs.


Try embroidering this bird of paradise (an actual bird for which the plant is named!) Download a free pattern here. Bird of Paradise pattern 

The “House of Birds” in Guatemala also produces many of the beaded items we offer, among them hummingbirds and owls. 

Here is Mercedes at her craft, stringing beads to create the bright hummingbird ornaments.


Mercedes  hummingbird

Order beaded hummingbirds here


South Africans are equally skilled with beads, although the style is significantly different. They usually combine wire and beads, while the Guatemalans use thread to string beads for their figurines. Compare this unique hoopoe bead birdie which strikingly resembles the real deal. Their name mimics their call: “oop-oop”. 


hoopoe hoopoe

Order this unmistakeable ornament here: hoopoe



In contrast, our patchwork Gooney bird from Thailand is a playful rendition of the black-footed albatross. Gooney is its informal name. (You can pick different colors and order one to hang on your doorknob right here.)

 During World War 2 the aircraft C-47 was nicknamed the “Gooney Bird” due to its similarity to the giant albatross in size and shape. The plane's role in supporting operations has been described as vital to the Allied victory. 

So, if it is FEATHERS that make the bird, what makes me a birder?  Birders are amateurs. We enthusiastically engage in the study of birds for the love of it, without calling it a profession. Yet. 

A Boost for Rural Healthcare
A Boost for Rural Healthcare

Thanks to your support last month, we're donating $2,234 to Healthy Mommy & Me! This program, based in rural Guatemala, provides mothers and babies with prenatal and postnatal health care, as well as health education, family planning, vitamins, supplements, and food vouchers.

As you may remember, our donation represents 10% of our net sales in May. Without question, we owe the success of our fundraising campaign to your kindness and generosity.

In communities where 8 out of 10 children are malnourished, Healthy Mommy & Me makes a real difference. Each year, the program enrolls about 120 mothers and babies. For their sake, we thank you again!

Click here to learn more about this wonderful program, administered by the Organization for the Development of the Indigenous Maya (ODIM).

Our May Campaign for Prenatal & Postnatal Health Care
Our May Campaign for Prenatal & Postnatal Health Care

During the month of May, you can help us support one of our favorite programs: “Healthy Mommy & Me.” Based in Guatemala, this program provides mothers and babies from rural communities with prenatal and postnatal health care, health education, family planning, vitamins, supplements, and food vouchers.

In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re running a month-long campaign to promote the program, which is administered by the Organization for the Development of the Indigenous Maya (ODIM). Specifically, we’ll be donating 10% of our net sales in May.

According to Arely Juárez, Volunteer Coordinator for ODIM, Guatemala has one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world. In the rural communities where ODIM works, 8 out of 10 children are malnourished. ODIM fights this by bolstering nutrition, education, and health practices from conception to a child’s second birthday.

“Each year, we enroll about 120 mothers and babies in the program,” says Juárez. “You can be a part of this great effort!"

We’re proud to lend our support, and we hope that you will, too!

Who's Catching Dreams on the Slopes of Volcanoes?
Who's Catching Dreams on the Slopes of Volcanoes?

On a blue sky day, high up on the Atitlan volcano, under the quiet canopy of giant old growth, Guillermo sits and stares. Observes. Admires. The contemplative artist. A dreamer. This is his happy place.


volcano view

Here he discovers ideas for designing his skillful weavings: outside, in western Guatemala’s verdant nature where he grew up.


Somebody showed him how to weave and embroider when he was only 8. His playmates were happy to receive his first colorful bracelets and this motivated him to keep at his craft into his teenage years. After a day of hard work in the fields, he would come home and make bracelets till the sun went down since his house had no electricity.

Encouraged by the positive reception his bracelets generated, our dream catcher took his wares to the streets, where tourist shop owners quickly started buying up all he carried. Soon the demand for his work became too great for this one-man operation, leading Guillermo to search for helpers. He found a few able women in his village whom he trained carefully, and today his growing business provides for several more households than his own.

dream mujeres

His product line is always expanding, and his designs are ever-changing to demonstrate the unique patterns that set them apart from what is commonly found in the markets. Take a look at his complex beaded dream catchers here. Or these fancy bracelets here.

dream catcherbracelet

Guillermo’s unusual curiosity and joie de vivre attract irresistibly like a magnet. One remembers a visit to his studio with great delight for a long time. His dad is turning 101 in a few months. We hope Guillermo also continues well into old age, catching dreams and weaving them into fine art.

101 years old

This is his dad at almost 101, dressed in the traditional outfit of the Tzʼutujil.

  young Guillermo

This is Guillermo as a young man, also dressed in his people's traditional dress, high on a rock hunting dreams.






The Not-So-Nutty Nut
The Not-So-Nutty Nut

One way of describing a botanical nut is to say it’s a hard, round shell with something valuable or delicious inside. Not unlike a human head. And that is how the phrase “to be nuts about someone” came to mean thoughts about that person are filling one’s head, possibly driving one crazy.

palm tree

Allow me to dazzle you with the extraordinary coconut while I introduce you to someone in the tropics whose dedication to his craft spans three decades.

coconut face

Coconuts (not truly nuts but drupes, as any botanist would tell you) grow high on slender palm trees. Ubiquitous on tropical beaches, where the salt spray and sandy soil limit the growth of most other trees, a mature coconut palm tree can produce up to 75 fruits per year. The word coconut derives from an old Portuguese word, “coco”, meaning head or skull. This is probably due to the three “holes” resembling two eyes and a mouth on its side. The holes are germination pores; a new shoot will emerge from one of these to start a new tree. The shell is softer at the holes and easily punctured to access the delicious water inside.

Apart from its culinary benefits, the shell and husk of coconut have proved functional in various ways: as fuel, as a source of carbon, as an abrasive to buff floors, or in making buttons, dishes, and musical instruments.

In Guatemala you can drink hot chocolate from a coconut cup while watching a local artisan cut intricate designs in small coconut disks, creating earrings or pendants.

Rafael     hand saw
Amilcar Rafael Chocoj Jimenez has perfected this art with a tiny handsaw. Most artisans use laser these days to cut out the patterns, while Rafael takes two hours to gently carve the shell till the image appears in relief. He is a perfectionist. Painstakingly so. His work's quality stands out when compared to mass-produced copies elsewhere on display. Rafael gets serious about the general decline in quality as the demand for cheaper substitutes increases.

Like many artists in Panajachel, he used to trade from a foldable table on the main street, but recently the town’s authorities have demanded all vendors have permanent and formal points of sale. This daily challenge has brought his goal of having a proper showroom to the forefront of his mind. He talks about wanting to demonstrate to his family and friends how art grows and that you can be successful when you strive for excellence in your work.

Family is a core element of Rafael’s story. His wife, Lesly Marisol, weaves the macrame bracelets, working alongside him. They have three beautiful children. He insists the whole household is integral to what he does and proudly shows them off.

Rafael and family

Because of widespread construction on Guatemala’s coast, obtaining his raw material is becoming increasingly complex and costly. Bamboo is an alternative he considers. We know he will continue to find a way.

Rafael’s unique creations:

earrings   necklace   bracelet

They’re stunning, they’re light, they float, and they were once drupes!

Order yours here today!