We’re excited for this year’s two itineraries to continue our creative idea exchange journey in Guatemala. Take a look!
Please share the info with anyone you think might be interested. I’d really appreciate it 🙂
“Guatemala has been on my textile travel wish list for years, so when I spotted Mari’s trip I snapped up the opportunity and oh what a treat it turned out to be! Antigua is an absolute delight, but it was extra special being taken off the beaten track by Mari into the rural villages and meeting the wonderful artisans and cooperative groups in their homes. The workshops were a highlight and it was a privilege to spend creative time with the charming and very patient artisans who happened to be great cooks too! An unexpected bonus being treated to their traditional homemade dishes. At all times, I felt totally safe and reassured in Mari’s capable and calm hands plus traveling in a small group was really pleasant. The moment I left, I longed to return, thank you Mari, it was textile heaven! “
We’re honored that a couple of participants of our Textile Travel from last year shared their experiences with us. Thank you 🙏
This year’s trip also incorporates new ideas gained from last year’s first adventure, and feedback based on slowing down a little bit to have more time to take in all the beauty and textile techniques, and debrief with more energy in our group setting. Accordingly, we’ve also added new workshops like our pomom and tassel-making at our favorite cozy hotel in Antigua. Learn more about this year’s trip here.
“Traveling with Kakaw was such a fantastic experience. I loved that the other participants were as excited as I was about really learning new skills. The individual instructors were master weavers, dye artists, and embroiderers, and being welcomed into their homes for meals and workshops was such a great experience. The whole trip was really thoughtful and well planned. I came away with a few new skills and a pronounced appreciation for the work that goes into the beautiful textiles of Guatemala.”
This year we have two itineraries available:
Creative Textile Adventure: August 1-9
The Quetzal Adventure: August 8-14
Sign up in February and receive $150 off as an early-bird offer. Bring a friend, and get $100 off each too 🙂 Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Though it’s been over a month now since we said our goodbyes to our friends from our very first Textile Travels, I feel like I’m still processing the experience, there is just so much to take in.
First off, I’d like to say that we had a wonderful trip. It was a small group, which was great considering this was the first trip of its kind that I’ve organized, full of workshops with artisans for the goal of collaborative idea exchange. It’s a new concept for me and our partner artisans, so this was a trial run – a successful one at that.
My favorite part was probably dyeing with Francisca and her cooperative of dyers and weavers. Indigo was especially fun, and I feel like where we were able to explore different designs and ideas well, since we all had a bit of experience with the magical dye, and had at least seen (some had even made) intricate shibori designs. I even stuck my jeans in the vat, and by the end of the day there was a whole line of indigo-dyed jeans, all from the weavers and their family members. I loved that they liked the idea!
We also organized workshops for embroidery, ikat, backstrap brocade weaving, as well as many visits to observe other techniques. It was a packed itinerary, but we squeezed in down time whenever we could. I would personally prefer a slower-paced trip, but it’s hard when there are so many beautiful places to visit, so many textile workshops to participate in… and not everyone has the luxury of taking part in a longer itinerary.
I have some new ideas on how to improve the trip – how to encourage even more idea exchange, prepare the participants better for them, and make sure the artisans get as much out of the workshops as possible (and not just the travel participants). I’m excited.
And now, looking at 2019, I’m wondering if people have any requests on the time of the year. This first trip took place in August, which was meant to be helpful for those busy during the school year. Though we got very lucky with the weather, it’s possibly not the ideal month for travel because it is still during the rainy season. October/November are usually better weather-wise.
With that said, please let me know if you would like to receive more information about the next trip, or if you have any particular requests.
We are opening our creative textile workshops during Textile Travels to those already in Guatemala! Come learn more about the textile traditions of the beautiful Maya country, and practice some of the techniques yourself. Get creative, have fun, exchange ideas to benefit artisans and participants alike.
These workshops also include home-cooked meals and local visits to experience authentic village life. Cultural exchange through shared passions in textiles.
Interested? Let me know! Email email@example.com
Take a look at this beautiful website full of narratives about artisan traditions and slow fashion practices around the world. I love this online community feel of people who believe in the value of handmade beauties.
Our upcoming Textile Travels was featured! Take a look at the whole piece here.
I’ve found myself in a little pickle as the founder of Kakaw Designs, a small artisanmade brand based in Guatemala, and now also a master’s student in Sustainable Development in Europe. It seems to me that conscious consumers are more and more focused on the environmental side of fashion, pushing for locally-made products and a general reduction in consumption. While I am a big supporter of these movements and personally believe that More is not always Better, these trends lead me to wonder about the social and economic side effects for the small-scale producers that I’ve worked with for years now in Guatemala.
We are so excited for all the possibilities to come this summer. Time to explore new creative ideas, together with our artisan partners. Want to know more? As always, just email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maybe you’ve heard the news – we’re so excited to be launching a new creative travel experience concept this year.
We can’t wait to get into all the weaving, dyeing, experimenting with fun creative ideas, together. We will be visiting our partner artisan groups with a small group of Makers (we’re thinking only around 6-8 participants for this first trip!). Can you just imagine all the sharing, learning, laughing we’ll do?
**Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself a Maker – the artisans can benefit from any feedback from consumers, and you’ll have a grand time learning traditional techniques in Guatemala anyway**
One question we’re getting is…
Well, that’s a fun team! It will be me and my mother, two generations; like mother, like daughter. My mom, Aiko Kobayashi, is a career textile artist and the reason why I have grown to love Guatemala so much (oh yeah, and also the reason why I was born in Guatemala to begin with!). Her passion for all things textiles, her knowledge of rural Guatemala and Maya traditions, plus her personal friendships all over the country makes her an excellent leader of textile tours, which she’s been doing for over 20 years now. But she’s been wanting to change things up, and I had this idea of creating an idea-exchange opportunity…. so we’ve teamed up to offer you this unique experience!
I’ll be arranging all of the workshops, coordinating everything with our Kakaw Designs partner artisans. My mother will be bringing her experience leading international groups in Guatemala, her passion for rural travel, and most of all, her friendly relationship connections all over – people are sincerely happy to see her, every time. After so many years, she’s built strong relationships with people in rural communities, and it’s a treat to be invited into people’s homes, to share family updates, and bring back pictures for locals from the previous trip. It’s a nice personal touch that only she can provide.
I hope this answers a bit about the leaders of the trip. Please let me know if you have any questions! We’re taking reservations for August trips, starting at only $1800. Let me know if you’d like to save a spot.
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
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.
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.
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.