Long before the Spanish conquest of the Americas that began with Mexico in 1521, Mayan land was contiguous and vast. Mayan peoples spanned what we now know as Chiapas, the Yucatán Peninsula, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. One of the largest of the Central American countries, Guatemala, has rich and biodiverse rainforests, gasping volcanoes, rainbow-tinted cathedrals, crashing Pacific waves, soft Caribbean sands, and vibrant communities, all touched by a turbulent past, carrying with them an unmistakably fierce Latin American spirit. Above all, the iconic textiles of the area are part of the greater Mayan landscape where cloth has few boundaries.
Nata Y Limón is an ethical craft label that partners with skilled Mayan weavers in Guatemala to develop hand-woven premium fabrics for interior and fashion. By setting new standards within the artisan & craft industry they are transforming the art of weaving into a stable source of income and are creating long-lasting positive impact for indigenous women and their families.
The weavers are mainly located in the region of Chichicastenango, which is one of the best-known regions for high quality intricate brocade designs. Their products are primarily made of natural materials, such as cotton and wool, and all materials are sourced locally in Guatemala.
The focus of Nata Y Limón lies in the promotion of the traditional Mayan brocade weaving, which is normally used to create the torso section of Mayan women’s traditional huipil. These brocade masterpieces are handwoven on a backstrap loom - one of the most complex and time consuming form of weaving that exists. The process of creating a single panel for one of our brocade pillowcases can take up to three weeks.
Each woven piece is an individual work of art, rich in symbolism, philosophy of life and deep spiritual meaning. The Ixcot, or two-headed eagle, is one of the world's oldest symbols and represents the animal spirit of several communities in the highlands of Guatemala. It is considered a lucky charm and stands for spiritual strength and courage. The bird looks at both - the future and the past - and therefore symbolises the duality and interconnectedness of all things: sun and moon, day and night, female and male, give and take.
Seamstresses create finished products from these textile weavings, creating a range of beautiful and soulful products for the home that encapsulate time-honoured craftwork, mutual respect and the fusion of traditional and contemporary design.
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Find out more about Nata Y Limón on their Selvedge artisan page.