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These finely crafted pieces are the rich designs of the Mayan women in the village of Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. Combining the finest Czech beads and crystals with their astonishing creativity for design and color, they have created these beautiful works of art.
Producing hand-made jewelry provides these artisan women with above average earnings, which greatly improves their lives and that of their families. What’s more, they do so without compromising their cultural heritage and tradition. Two hundred and fifty women have been working together in this cottage industry for 10 years. They usually work in small groups as they thoroughly enjoy the social interaction.
They speak Tzutujil as their first (and usually only) language, a Mayan language unique to Santiago Atitlan and a few surrounding villages. In most cases they shoulder the burden of providing for their families alone, due to the loss of so many Mayan men during the civil war.
They meet in a central area every afternoon where they are provided with a hot meal in order not to take time away from work for food preparation. Their beading business is one of the most successful small industries in Guatemala.
Dennis Gardner, our family’s patriarch, founder and president of Mayan Creations, passed away October, 2013, after a brave battle with cancer.
He had lived in Baja California, Mexico for the past thirty years and traveled to Guatemala every few months to spend time with the artisans. He was in love with the people and culture, and it was only natural he carried that passion into his business.
It is our honor and pleasure to be given the chance to oversee operations at Mayan Creations and keep alive Dennis’ legacy and zeal. We strive to provide the same quality of service and product for which he was widely known.
Denise Gardner-Chicarelli, John Chicarelli and Natalie Reed