Note: This piece was first published on Birds of a Thread on January 5th, 2018. Big thanks to Jacqui for helping spread the word about the trip.
I’m super excited to share this travel opportunity, hosted by Mari of Kakaw Designs, with you. Read on for the details. -Jacqui
Come together to share, learn, and create
Are you a crafty person who likes to make things and who cherishes handmade traditions? I am, too! But I bet our experiences and ideas are different.
That’s the basis of our upcoming Textile Travel for Makers, launching in August 2018. While working with textile artisan communities in Guatemala through my business Kakaw Designs, I’ve come to realize how interested our partner artisans are in learning about different techniques, patterns, designs, and concepts. And ultimately, wouldn’t it be ideal if these talented artisans could themselves take a more active role in the design process, without depending on designers from outside of their communities?
This is the part that I love most about working with artisans: getting excited together about new creations, and trying out new ideas. But I’m just one person, and I only have a small limited number of ideas. That’s why I’d like to invite other creative Makers out there to join us on this new journey of idea exchange in Guatemala.
We’re so excited to share our crafts together – our partner artisans are experts in natural dyes, backstrap weaving, embroidery, making ikat designs, and more. But it’s no surprise that it can be challenging to think outside of the box in the rural context, especially for tactile and visual traditions like in textiles. So, we thought – why not come together and share our ideas in beautiful Guatemala, and have fun while at it?
Our artisan partners are happy to share their traditional craft techniques, and they’re also looking forward to hearing about different experiences and ideas, especially with textiles. We’ll be hosting workshops to facilitate creative idea exchange in a safe space for all of us to come together and take part in a true and real kind of cultural exchange that we can all relate to as Makers.
Who can participate?
Anyone crafty and creative is encouraged to come. Obviously weavers, embroiderers, and seamstresses have a lot to directly contribute to rural artisans, but also I think it’s really interesting to hear from people with experience in other techniques that are not prevalent in Guatemala, such as quilting, knitting, block printing, shibori, sashiko, or leaf printing. Skills such as color theory, presentation of products, and simple photography could also all be very helpful, so please feel free to reach out, whether you’re an active “maker” or not. I think we all have something to contribute and can learn from each other.
How much will it cost, can what can you expect?
I’ll be leading the small group through Guatemala, together with my mother, Aiko Kobayashi, who has been a textile tour guide for over two decades. We’re excited to add this creative twist, further enhancing both the visitors’ and the artisans’ experiences and making sure that local communities benefit in a meaningful way. We’re currently taking sign-ups for the trip, with two available itineraries starting at only $1800. For more details, please go to our website and/or email me.
Isn’t it great when an idea is just all-around good, benefiting everyone involved? That’s how we feel about this new branch of Kakaw Designs. Supporting our partner artisans even more while at the same time enhancing participants’ travel experiences in an ethical and sustainable way through exchanges based on common interests as Makers of the world. We’re so excited to get our creative juices flowing, together.