Founder and working member, of the Association of Communal Artisans of the Lake, in San Juan de Laguna, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. This women’s fair trade cooperative specializes in the local technique of using natural plant dyes which results in slightly muted, though beautiful, color palettes. Typical colors include mauve, periwinkle, citron, and a range of oranges. Local experts also claim that the intensity of the color they extract from plants depends on the phase of the moon.
This group of women create natural dye scarves and shawls featured at Near & Far.
Maria is not a member of a co-op, but an independent weaver who found her way to Near & Far via a connection through, Long Way Home a non-profit organization which uses sustainable design and materials to construct self-sufficient schools in Guatemala. A a single mother, Maria supports her family with her weaving, and industriously learned to operate a foot loom (a loom that is free stranding and operated by foot edals) - which is almost exclusively used by men, and thought by many Guatemalans to be “inoperable by women.” Maria hand-stitches intricately designed iphone cases for Near & Far.
This sister duo from Buenos Aires design their own line, featuring colorful and whimsical accessories of recycled fabric and trim. They collect left over remnants of fabric and leather from clothing and shoe factories, and then turn them into one of-a-kind pieces. This eco-friendly “rescuing” of materials and repurposing one object to another is the mainstay of the Griboff sisters’ design aesthetic.
Near & Far brings you a select collection of necklaces from their boutique in the trendy SoHo Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires.
Rangina is an embroiderer and the founder of Kandahar Treasure, a group developed to provide Afghan women a much needed opportunity to safely earn an income. Through her efforts, the group of women embroiderers has grown to more than 450 artists. According to Rangina, "The artwork is the women's expression to the world about their life in Afghanistan. It's a way of women expressing their voices wordlessly through their stitches."
They specialize in Khamak, an intricate form of silk thread embroidery inspired by complex Islamic geometric patterns. Girls learn this ancient art form at an early age and continue to practice it throughout their lives.
Rangina’s group, Kandahar Treasure make hand-stitched iphone cases exclusively for Near & Far.
Fernando owns and operates a small shop in Los Angeles. Together with a pattern maker and one other sewer, he crafts beautiful leather accessories ranging from handbags to gadget sleeves.
Using Guatemalan textile trim, Fernando and his small team craft handbags and totes exclusive to Near & Far.
Isabel is a member of a 100% worker-owned women’s weaving association offering training to cooperatives around Guatemala and enabling them to produce quality fair-trade textile goods. The administrators participate in annual meetings where regional administrators are elected for each of the 17 groups that make up the association. Membership in the association allows women to weave in their owns homes, giving them additional economic income while they are taking care of their families.
The association Isabel belongs to hand weave items such as totes, pillow cases, scarves, and small make-up bags.
Karen and his wife Tatyana own a small shop in Sherman Oaks, and specialize in custom pattern making. They take pride in small details and are skilled pattern makers for projects ranging from evening gowns to handbags.
Together with two other sewers they made laptop cases and decorative pillows using Near & Far’s Guatemalan textiles as trim. They also developed patterns for a few clothing items which are in the works for next season.
With over 60 years of experience under her belt, Rosa is a skilled and experienced weaver who ties in elaborate patterns from memory. She comes from a village on Lake Atitlan in the Guatemalan highlands, called Santa Catarina Palopo. Weavings from this area are characterized by rows of repeating motifs such as deer, flowers, birds, butter flies, and corn, often on brilliant blue backgrounds. Backstrap weaving is a revered art since the time of the Maya that continues to be practiced and passed on today.
Rosa made several huipils, the traditional Guatemalan blouse, that Near & Far repurposed into decorative pillows.