Today Collection One launches! Exactly one year ago Ara Collective was incorporated, product designs were sent to artisans and the dream of this day was born. Today throws, pillows, rugs and bags are stacked all over Ara’s temporary office, which is currently located in my in-laws’ pool cabana (appropriately painted turquoise, just like our color pop for this summer). Stacks of bright, watery greens and blues inspired by the shores of Lake Atitlan sit beside classic, subtle neutrals bearing the symbols and designs of Mayan shirts, shawls and skirts. Deep indigo in bold stripes and ikat patterns sit beside stacks of leather travel bags ready to hit the open road.
Collection One is all made by Mayans, from across Guatemala to the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas in Mexico. Every textile design is distinctly Mayan, specific to a region or village, that been passed on for as long as anyone can remember. Each piece has been made, from start to finish, by the members of the cooperative which I purchased them from. Some groups are women only and some are men and women. Each member is an expert in their role, learning the skill from between age 8-12. They execute their craft with pride.
I’m thrilled to open our beautiful online shop to share the stories of the incredibly talented artisans that live and work off the beaten path. As you cruise around the shop today, I hope you also read about each artisan cooperative we’ve partnered with for this collaboration. I’ve played the smallest role in curating this collection while the artisans sit for days and weeks to weave the story of their history into an accent pillow or light, summery throw. They’ve worked with expertise to alter symbol dimensions, swap color placements and try new finishing techniques. (Like all those giant pom pom tassels!) They’ve dared to modify their traditional designs in order to share with and provide for their families in in a modern market. All while taking care of their children, home and gardens.
inspired by the clothing, designs and the colors of the land from which they originate. woven with pride, heritage and hope for a better future.
We are a collective of global creatives unifying our talents and communities to create a better world. One that is healthier, safer, with more opportunities and with strong family units that keep children and parents in the same country and home. One that builds a life that isn’t just about surviving, but thriving. May these accent pieces make your home or your travels more beautiful. They are made to last, they are made with heart and heritage, they are made daring hope of a better and dignified future.