We are proud to partner with more than ten indigenous artisan groups based in three highland Guatemala communities. Ranging from small family businesses to cooperatives counting dozens of members, these creative and talented artists work in wood, ceramics, and textiles. Despite their diversity, our artisan partners are united in their efforts to create better livelihoods through adaptation of ancestral arts to contemporary local and global markets. While visiting Guatemala, Enactus students learn about the different artisanal forms as well as the cultural significance of our partners' creations. This knowledge is then shared with our team members and customers.
Ajpu Association Weavings
Bulux Sisters Pottery
Based in the central zone of San Miguel Totonicapán, Ajkem Weavings is a small family business. Master weaver Pablo Chuc works a loom designed specifically to produce colorful, intricately-patterned bands, belts, and straps.
Ajpu Association is an indigenous non governmental organization (ngo) based in Quiacquix, a rural satellite community of Totonicapán. Among its diverse sustainable community development programs, Ajpu Association organizes a cooperative of weavers. Expert in the distinctive jaspe technique, Ajpu weavers produce skirts and aprons for local markets and bags, backpacks, and tapestries for export.
Bulux Sisters Pottery is a small family business based in the central zone of San Miguel Totonicipán. Known in the community as 'the sisters,' Flori and Elfa specialize in hand-formed candle holders, incense burners, and other decorative household objects.
This shop takes its name from a prestigious surname and from the distinctive, hand-painted wooden gift box known as cajeta. In addition to a wide variety of cajetas, the shop produces all manner of wooden toys and decorative household items. Master carver and painter Don Jesus Garcia is recipient of national and international awards.
Campana Ab'aj Weavings
The name Campana Ab'aj combines the Spanish word for 'bell' with the K'iche' Maya word for 'stone.' This extended family weaving cooperative calls the La Calera zone of Totonicapán home. About half a dozen weavers employ looms assembled using a carefully-guarded family secret. The unique textiles that they create are known far and wide.
Based in Chuisuc, a rural satellite community of Totonicapán, Cuxliquel Weavings is named after a neighboring mountain noted for its abundant bird life. Husband and wife team of Carlos and Carolina Chaclan are at the center of Cuxliquel Weavings. Though a small family business, depending on demand and type of order, Cuxliquel partners with a number of artisans in the community.
Escudos Weavings is an extended family cooperative of women weavers based in Chimaltenango. The name escudos ('shields') references the mountains that surround and protect the valley where Chimaltenango, among many other Kaqchikel communities, is located. Using the ancestral back-strap loom, the women of Escudos Weavings create blouses for local markets and a wide variety of decorative household textiles for export. A textured, multicolored scarf made by Escudos Weavings is a best seller for Enactus NCC.
"From death comes life." For indigenous environmentalist Toribio Chajil, reforestation is as much about education as it is about planting trees. Children in the Forestal education program learn to gather wood from fallen trees and from coffee shade canopy trimmings. They also learn how to distinguish among varieties of tree species. Finally, they learn how to carve hardwoods into beautiful and unique cooking utensils. In the process, Toribio's lesson is lived.
Maya Heritage Pottery
Maya Heritage Pottery is a small family business located in the central zone of San Miguel Totonicapán. Master ceramicist Julio Lopez produces custom orders for families, restaurants, and hotels from across Guatemala. Known for his creativity in both form and decoration, Julio recently created hand-turned and hand-painted pour-over coffee brewers for Enactus NCC. We expect that the "Julio Pour-Over" will become a best seller.
Sweaters by Esau
Esau Gomez learned to weave from his father on a traditional foot loom. Recognizing that the principles of weaving translate across technologies, Esau later acquired a discarded industrial knitting machine. Esau now produces a wide variety of knit sweaters, scarves, and caps for local apparel retailers and for export. Originally from Patzicía, Esau lives with his wife and family in Chimaltenango.
St. Francis Pottery
Located in the central zone of San Miguel Totonicapán, St. Francis Pottery shop is a small but growing family enterprise. Master ceramicist Santos Gutierrez is a retired teacher and an avid student of culture, history, and archaeology. The ocarina is a St. Francis speciality. Pre-Columbian ceramic objects inspire Santos in technique, form, and decoration. Recently, St. Francis ocarinas have become popular with international buyers, keeping Santos and his sons busy at their workbenches.