Guatemala, Multicolores, “Surrounded by Stories” Extra-large Rug
Product name: “Surrounded by Stories” Extra-large Rug by Yolanda Churunel Ajú
Type of product: Hand-hooked Large Rug
Description (story of the item): This hand-hooked rug was designed and crafted by Yolanda Churunel Ajú. Yolanda lives in Chuacruz, Sololá, a rural Kaqchiquel Maya community in the highlands of Guatemala. The artists of Multicolores began learning the rug-hooking technique in 2011. Rug-hooking is a traditional folk art not native to Guatemala. In their design process, artists blend ancestral motifs drawn from backstrap weavings, inspiration from the natural world, and their own imagination. The resulting textile artworks evoke both their Maya heritage and their contemporary, individual creative voice. This piece is unique and the design is entirely the result of the artist's creative vision. This piece took approximately 2.5 months to make.
Yolanda described the story of this artwork:
“The women of my village have lived many stories during their lifetimes. Even the objects of our everyday lives are full of stories. One story that was handed down to me is the story of the piedra de moler (the millstone). The piedra de moler is handmade, carved from volcanic rock. For centuries, women used this tool to prepare the masa, corn dough for making tortillas. Until recently, we had no mechanical mill in our community. So, at dawn, women rose to grind the nixtamal, the special mixture of cooked corn kernels and lime that is the cornerstone of our food tradition. This daily ritual represented women’s constant struggle, a fight to provide for their families. On this beautiful stone we also prepare the delicious sauces that give flavor to our food.
But women do not struggle alone. Men and women work together, helping one another in the fight to achieve better futures and improve the quality of life of their families. From the smallest trickling streams, men carry water in tinajas, heavy clay jars. Each morning and each afternoon, they make the journey to these streams to bring life-giving water to their families.
Today, during the pandemic when many families experienced economic hardship and travel was impossible, we returned to some of these ancient traditions. Many women found their millstones useful once again. When they couldn’t travel to the mechanical mill, with their hands and their piedra de moler women made food to keep their families healthy and well during dire times.”
Materials: This rug is made from recycled secondhand clothing, known in Guatemala as 'paca,' on hand-woven cotton base cloth, with a hand-stitched binding. This rug was made using 90-95 recycled garments, which are washed and cut into strips before being incorporated in the design. Material is not dyed during the making process. Recycled materials retain their original color.Measurements / size: 91 cm x 152 cm