LAFTA (Latin American Fun, Travel, Adventure) & BUSINESS at travellog.com

Ixchel
4a Calle Oriente No. 20
Antigua Guatemala

The story of the Ixchel blankets and rugs is a love story: My lifelong love for textiles, my special love of working with wool, my (an American woman) love of the land and the people and the ambience of Guatemala, the love Guatemala's working people have given me, the marriage of love between the weavers and their tiny rangy sheep and their rivers where they wash their blankets and the immense, deep blue sky that subtly inspires their daily labor. One Indian family in Momostenango, Totonicapan with unending patience and that native Guatemalan need to please with the work of their hands has made a reality of that American woman's dream, producing a uniquely beautiful, yet practical blankets entirely by hand with the methods traditional in the Momostenango area.

This Quiche Indian family with their gentle movements (so in contrast to their sharp staccato language) selects tuft by tuft only the wool that will make a thick but drapable blanket, soft, warm, more like a fine fur than like a textile. The wool is combed and then spun by hand on a rustic wheel, woven on huge, heavy looms, then washed and fulled at the hot water spring along the banks of the river. The heavy wet blankets are washed by men who knead them with their feet, much the way one kneads bread or potters clay with the hands. When the blankets are dry, the women brush them with teasels (a type of thistle burr) to bring longer, straight hair to the surface. The fringes are carefully twisted. and the blankets are ready for market.

Market for this very special blanket Means Antigua Guatemala, specifically the rooms that were originally the chapel of the Hospital of Santiago founded in 1535, one of the oldest in Latin America. So this space, the spirits of the best of Guatemala (its sky, its artisans, its traditions, its fierce independence, its gentle flow with Life) have drawn the Ixchel blankets and rugs. When I left them there in other hands, the spirits of Guatemala drew me back. I took the blankets away. The spirits drew the blankets back to this beautiful, echoing domed space in different hands. Now I am here with the blankets and rugs again, moving quietly with the flow of life in Guatemala, still in love with wool, in love with these blankets and rugs, in love with this exquisite dynamic space that centuries ago was the chapel of the hospital of Santiago.

With love I, the family in Momostenago, this living space and the spirits that inhabit it, we all unite to bring you blankets and rugs that will warm your heart and soul and dreams.

A sus ordenes
Maribel

Ixchel textiles

Maribel is in the process of relocating her store, if you want to see her you can find her by going to the village of San Pedro las Huertas (an interesting ten minute ride from Antigua) and she is two streets west of the municipality (ask anyone there for the gringa with the blankets) as soon as she lets us know her new address we will put it up. Thanks for your patience.

Antigua, Guatemala

Return to LAFTA & BUSINESS Antigua homepage

Return to LAFTA & BUSINESS Guatemala homepage

Return to LAFTA & BUSINESS homepage