I want to introduce you to a wonderful book and the story behind it. The book is Rug Money: How a Group of Maya Women Changed Their Lives Through Art and Innovation. Mary Anne Wise and Cheryl Conway-Daly are the authors and also the instigators of this wonderful rug hooking group.
There have been several groups whose goal is to help people, in particular women, who have no means of making any money. These organizations are fair trade non-profit organizations where the artisans are paid a fair wage for their work which is then exported to the US and other countries where they are sold. The money made is then put back into the organization to fund the raw materials and tools needed for the artisans but also in the form of micro-lending and education in many areas including and business and leadership, health care and domestic violence. There are several examples of this type of organization:
Mayan Hands - cloth weaving in Guatemala
Bolga Basket Weavers - basket weaving in Ghana
Afghan Cashmere - hand spun yarn from Afghanistan
June Cashmere - hand spun yarn from Kyrgyzstan
Darn Good Yarn - recycled silk from India and Nepal
But back to the rug hookers. These ladies were not knowledgeable about rug hooking initially. They were trained in the techniques but they took the basic beginnings and have run with it. Multicolores Cooperative is full of amazingly creative women who create stunning rugs. Check out their website at multicolores.org.
My friend Connie Elliot and I went to the gallery opening at the Red & White Inn in Fayetteville, TX a couple of weeks ago. Holy cow. The rugs are amazing. Some of them look similar the huipils traditionally woven in Guatemala on a back-strap loom. The colors are vivid and bright leaning towards reds and yellows. Other rugs were full of ancient Mayan figures in softer earth tones. There were butterflies and flowers, birds and trees. Every single one of them was stunning. They are all made out of cotton t-shirts.
Of course, I bought one. While the brightly colored rugs were stunning, it was the earth tones that drew me in. My rug is large enough that it will probably go on the floor out here in the studio. The gallery show continues through this coming weekend so I won't be picking up my rug until sometime next week. I can't wait!
You can order this wonderful book on Amazon.