The Last Unbroken Thread
Heritage - Passion - Creation
In Mayan mythology it was believed that at the beginning of time the goddess Ixchel taught the first woman how to weave. This became an art form that has transcended millennia as it was passed down through the generations. Even when the colonial powers aimed to eradicate Mayan culture, the tradition of weaving endured, creating perhaps the only unbroken thread to the Mayan past.
Today massive corporations permeate Latin America's textile industry, posing a real threat to the continuation of the indigenous weaving heritage. Nevertheless, traditions that have lasted for thousands of years build their own defenses, and inevitably find avenues through which to be preserved. As new and old world designs converge in Latin America, increasingly interesting results come forth. The marriage of contemporary design with the ancient Mayan weaving practice has created a truly unique production.
Loom Tree is proud to contribute to the conservation and protection of these ancient techniques, and to help them remain relevant and contemporary. Guatemala's textile heritage is far more than an art form, it is the defiant voice of the Mayan people.
"The flowing beauty of textiles has always captivated me. Ever since I was a girl helping out with my mother's fashion atelier in Modena, I've appreciated the artistry behind making fine textiles. Therefore, it was no surprise that when I came to Guatemala, and discovered the magnificent textile culture of this land, I immediately fell in love."
- Carmen Giuliani
Carmen Giuliani founded Loom Tree (Árbol del Telar) in 1996 in the beautiful Antigua Guatemala. Carmen was a fashion designer native to Italy, and first came to Central America in 1988. An avid traveler, reader, and history buff, Carmen went to Guatemala as she toured the ancient wonders of the Mayan civilization. On her final day she had her flight canceled, and rather than spend the night in Guatemala City, she made her way to Antigua; a colonial city barely an hour away. That first experience of Antigua was enough to draw her back to Guatemala several times before finally moving there for good. What truly captivated her were the textiles she saw there, and having worked with textiles her whole life, she immediately realized the potential for the career she always had dreamt of.
By 1993 Carmen had settled permanently in Antigua with her husband and infant son. When she first started working she had a small clothing production at home. In time she began collaborating with local indigenous weavers, and by 1996 she opened Loom Tree. At the time all she could afford was half a space she shared with a jewelry store. Over time her brand grew into what it is today. Currently Loom Tree is an established brand of luxury textiles with international appeal.
Learn more about Carmen's incredible journey in Guatemala on our brand's blog.
As any artisan will tell you, the process of weaving by hand is complicated and tedious work. Each one of our designs is the result of months of collaborations between Carmen and her weavers. Everything, from the rolls of fabric, to the finishing touches and details, are produced in-house. Loom Tree employs nearly 50 independent weavers, some of which have been with us from the very beginning over 25 years ago. You simply cannot put a price on that level of experience, and when you take home a piece by Loom Tree, know that you can count on our commitment to authenticity, quality, and ethics.
First and foremost we are committed to human rights, and the rights to safe, reliable, and dignified work. Guatemala is an amazing country that has given us so much, but we must also acknowledge the darker side of a nation that has undergone such a turbulent history. Workers rights in Guatemala are still today a difficult subject, and unfortunately many Guatemalans - especially those of Mayan ancestry - have difficulties finding steady employment through which to build a life for themselves and their families. For more information on this subject click here.
Therefore; Loom Tree is committed to provide proper payment and compensation to all our collaborators and workers. We do not tolerate any form of worker exploitation, and at our current size, we can guarantee that ALL of our workers receive livable and dignified compensation for their work.
Authenticity & Quality
Loom Tree was not just founded as a business, but as a passion project. As such we take great pride in what we do. Furthermore, we take great pride in our reputation. Loom Tree is committed to uphold its claim that everything we produce is 100% handmade in Guatemala. For us the challenge of making products in such a way is what makes us believe that we are putting items for sale that are absolutely unique.
Loom Tree is committed to providing all our patrons with authentic handmade products. Please note that, as with all handmade products, small errors or loose threads may exist. Human error is part of the creation. Nevertheless, we ensure that these errors never get in the way of providing quality items. Everything we sell is thoroughly inspected for excessive defects before sale.
We have been operational since 1996, and in that time thousands of people have come into our shop, contacted us, or looked us up online. We take their experience very seriously, and we put our customers first.
We are committed to our customer's privacy, and any information left with us is not shared with ANYONE without consent. We will always try to be as helpful and responsive as we can with any issues, concerns, or questions we are presented with. Please feel free to contact us anytime via our contact page.