María Elena Clutch
Size: 6" h (11" unfolded) x 10.5" w x 1"g
Material: 100% cotton, 100% cow leather trim and tassel, zip closure
Handmade in Mexico
A bold and unforgettable clutch in black, cream and gold. The textile is a celebration of the diamonds pattern traditional to Chiapas, with a modern color combination. The large zip top interior has room for everything you need, and the front pocket keeps a cell phone close at hand. In the textile, the design represents orchids and the universe.
Comes with a free friendship bracelet made by the girls your purchase supports. Choose your phrase here and send your choice to firstname.lastname@example.org to include in your order, or let us choose for you.
A note to brides: we do custom bridal and bridesmaid clutches in your choice of 4 colors. Drop a note to email@example.com to learn more.
Impact: each bag provides 4 days of work for women and 7 days of education for girls through the Catrinka Girls Project.
The woman behind the bag:
María Elena works with 5 other weavers in a group they call Grupo Café, which was formed in the coffee collecting season in 2012, after a visit and training from the artisan support group Catrinka works with in Chiapas. Her colleagues are Marta, Irma, Juana, Lucia, and another María Elena. They have been weaving for themselves and to sell at the market for years, but decided to join together as a group to strengthen themselves, share their knowledge, and get more attention from new clients. They told our local partner that they love the colors we chose for the clutch, and the combination. They wove a few extra panels on spec that we were happy to purchase as well.
María Elena started weaving when she was 12 years old, after she got her primary degree. She is married and has four children, two boys and two girls (one is just a month old). All of her children go to school. Marta is 36 years old, is single and lives with her mother. She started weaving when she was 6 years old, and when she was 12 wove her first small huipil. Irma and Juana are sisters, they are both single and taught themselves to weave when they were 20 years old because they wanted to make a living. Their mother doesn't know how to weave so they decided to learn on their own. María Elena is married and learned to weave from her mother in law when she was 15 years old. She has children who go to school. Her husband helps her with the expenses.
Fortunately the schools their children attend is free. But the women say they know it´s not the best education they can receive. They try to invest in good food and basic needs like uniforms, books, notebooks and things for school.
They feel happy to be together as a group, and are looking forward to weaving for the rest of their lives.
Product photography: Rich Begany Photography. Model: Leah Balagopal.