Unique Batik Blog

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Mayan Weaving: The Thread of History

It’s hard to know the exact timeline of weaving because textiles are so susceptible to being destroyed by the elements, but historians estimate that the Mayan people began using the weaving3back strap loom many centuries ago. We know this because rulers, priests, and deities of the Maya Universe are draped in elaborate woven garments depicted on painted vases, in murals, and on the monumental stone reliefs discovered in Maya archaeological ruins.

According to legend, the Mother Moon, goddess Ix Chel, taught the first woman how to weave at the beginning of time. Since then, Maya mothers have taught their daughters the art of the loom each generation uninterruptedly for three thousand years. In ancient times, weavers made offerings to Ix Chel before beginning each new textile. Continue reading


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Guest Blogger Amy Kay’s Trip to Guatemala

I’m something of an impostor… a fraud, in fact.  Although I’m posing as a business person and own a Fair Trade store, I’m really just a minister.

Amy Kay's Family

Amy Kay’s Family

After serving the church for 11 years, I began following my husband’s career four years ago and the result has been a lot of substitute preaching, serving part-time as a college’s Chaplain, and starting a Fair Trade store in both of the towns we’ve lived.  I haven’t always made great business decisions, harking back to the ‘poser’ admission, but the decision to spend my time with Fair Trade has never been in question.  It is good.  Very good.  For everyone.

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Introduction to The Modern Maya

maya5Once one of the most powerful civilizations in Central America, the Maya people remain an integral part of Guatemala. The rise of the Maya civilization began thousands of years ago and spread across what it now southern Mexico all the way to modern-day Honduras. The Maya civilization lasted longer than any other Mesoamerican culture that came to power in the area, and as a result, traces of the culture remain very much alive even today. Continue reading

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Las Mujeres De Panabaj: Working Together to Rebuild

Panabaj1For indigenous women in the villages on the banks of beautiful Lake Atitlan, life is not always as picturesque as their placid surroundings. Although many of the villages in the Lake Atitlan region are renowned for their form of handicrafts, or artesania, earning a sustainable, living wage through sales of these handicrafts — no matter how unique or well-made — presents many challenges. The thousands of tourists who visit the region each year don’t make it to every small village, and even if they did, competition for craft sales is fierce. It takes more than crafting skills to be a successful artisan. For the artisan group Mujeres Panabaj, working together as a cooperative instead of trying to make it as individual artisans has been the key to success. Continue reading

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Guatemala’s Beautiful Lake Atitlan – Part II

San Juan la Laguna

San Juan la Laguna

Picturesque volcanic Lake Atitlan is home to many Unique Batik artisans. This mountainous region is rich with Mayan cultural traditions and handicrafts and has more to offer visitors than just its promise of beautiful vistas and eternally spring-like weather. The small villages that surround this huge body of water, formed in a caldera millions of years ago, are as captivating as anything the scenery can boast. Continue reading