Guatemalan Crafts

Guatemalan crafts encompass and display the nation’s history.  The country’s Mayan heritage is still very apparent in crafts such as woven textiles, beaded jewelry, jade items, pottery, and baskets.  But painted tile, ornate wooden items, and wrought iron reveal the influence of the Spanish colonial period as well.

We purchase our selection of crafts through fair trade co-ops, directly from the artisan in Guatemala, or even from Guatemalans living right here in Morganton.  You can find our Guatemalan crafts for sale at the coffee cart, brick and mortar store on East Union St (currently not open!) or on our website.

The hooked rug is an interesting recent development in Guatemala’s crafting history.  Women have learned this trade using already developed skills in weaving and design to provide another mode of income.  We are thankful to have a friend in Guatemala that makes these rugs, and you can purchase them through here!.

Mayan Heritage

Textiles: Many of Guatemala's beautiful textiles are still produced on a traditional backstrap loom. It is anchored to a post or tree and strapped around the back of the weaver, who crafts unique colors and shapes into the piece. Women's skirts (cortes) and shirts (huipiles) are made on these looms, and each region in the countryside of Guatemala is known for a distinct pattern in the garments.

Beadwork: Very small colorful beads are used to make jewelry, keychains, and small coin purses. This is a relatively more recent addition to the other more ancient art forms.

Jade: The type of Jade, Jadeite, from Guatemala, is so rare that it is only found in 3 other countries around the world (Burma, Russia, and Japan). It is most known for a green color but can also be white, pink, or black.

Pottery: Traditional clay pots, plates, and figures were used by the Mayans for daily functional purposes, aesthetics, to tell stories, and to honor loved ones.

Basket-weaving: Baskets are made of wild grass, pine needles, and raffia in a coiling method. The raffia can be dyed to produce various colors in the weavings as well.

Spanish Colonial Influence

Tile: Layouts of ceramic tiles in brilliant colors and intricate designs cover floors, counters, walls, and even staircases in Guatemala. Traditional clay tiles are also used, even as roofing material.

Wood: The architecture in Guatemala was heavily influenced by the Spanish who used thick wooden beams and decorative carvings in their cities and houses.

Iron: Heavy iron is twisted into the scene on many Guatemalan streets as lamps, hinges, handles, window protections, and wall decorations.