Riding in the back of trucks, volcanic views and textiles, that would be a very brief summary of my trip to Guatemala with art tourism company Thread Caravan, which hosts artisan workshops around the world. Known for its colorful and vibrant textiles, we ventured throughout the beautiful country, with various modes of transportation, working one-on-one with artisans from Guatemala’s indigenous communities while also exploring and experiencing the local culture, flavors and textiles.
As someone that has always had a deep appreciation and love for artisan craft, I found my eyes opened up in a completely different light than expected. Far beyond traditional travel, on this trip, travelers have the opportunity to connect with a country in a completely immersive, ethical and adventurous way.
What can I expect?
Get your craft on. During the trip, each traveler is paired with an artisan to design and complete their own textile creation. From natural dyeing, spinning fibers to backstrap weaving, we worked with different cooperativas in different areas, where these techniques have been deeply ingrained and past down in their families for centuries. In each group, we were welcomed with warm smiles and patience, as many of us fumbled trying to imitate the skilled hands of these artisans. They make it look so easy! It’s not! Especially attempting to hand-spin the fiber, which was a hilarious experience, with a lot of ‘failure’ on my part and laughter. Sprinkled in between this, travelers are able to relax next to the gorgeous Lake Atitlan, go vintage textile shopping in the markets and many other activities.
One-on-One with Artisans
While it was easy to connect with all the women we worked with, my heart melted when we met five-year-old Rosa Linda. Unlike most children, she has a great interest in natural dyeing and weaving. In a world where many of these techniques have been replaced with machines, I aspire to continue the appreciation for this art form so that others like Rosa Linda can not only continue the time-honored tradition, but be valued and able to thrive with these skills. For any designer, creative or fashion lover, I highly recommend immersive artisan travel to appreciate the process behind the beautiful products we love.
Ready to join the Caravan?
Thread Caravan trips are all-inclusive taking the guesswork out of planning and budgeting. This includes boutique accommodations, transportation and all meals. Custom trips are also available, so be sure to check them out.
Not able to make the trip?
Maybe time or budget is maxed out at the moment. While you plan for the future, check out some of my favorite brands that work directly with artisans in Guatemala:
Thread Caravan Bazaar
Love discovering global artisan skills from around the world? Then follow @THR3EFOLD on Instagram for even more fashionable education!