Vanessa "Chili" Chicharello
I met Marina in 2007 in my first semester at Northern Arizona University. She gave a seminar on basket making using pine needles and sinew thread. She taught the art of basket weaving in such an exquisite way and it paved the way for me to learn it an easy process. The pine needles are a gift from the pine trees and letting us use them to make beautiful baskets is a way to give back to mother earth. Pine needles are all over Flagstaff and taking them to make baskets is a beautiful way to have something natural in our homes.
I have been making pine needle baskets for three years and have made many for gifts and to sell. I make little baskets and I gradually go up in size. The bigger baskets I make measure 10-12 inches in diameter. I gather the pine needles from outside my home and I clean them to disinfect them. I then soak them so they can be pliable and easy to work with. I am also a full time student and I have a part time job so I make the baskets in my spare time. There were times I did not have money to pay for rent or bills, but I would rely on my baskets and the great creator to send people my way to purchase my baskets. They all helped me during hard times. Basket weaving is a beautiful art form and I am thankful I have had the pleasure of learning it from Marina.
I first met Marina at the NAU Bookstore where she taught me how to make pine needle baskets. From there she has continued to influence my academic and personal life in a positive way. Through Marina, I have been able to take part in many bilingual community workshops. I have been able to give pine needle baskets as a gifts to family members and friends, all of whom learn about this technique and what Marina is doing. I have also made baskets out of other materials and explored making more creative pieces. I am happy for Marina's contribution to my life.
I met Marina through Miguel and started volunteering with both of them however and wherever I needed. I attended one of Marina's basket making workshops at NAU's bookstore almost three years ago in 2007 and learned a new and valuable skill. I took my skill home and tried out a bunch of different styles and materials. I still make baskets out of pipe cleaners, it is relaxing! My basket's usually end up looking like circles almost every time.
Marina's path and mine crossed in the Spring semester of 2008. It was at this time when I found the opportunity to volunteer for Marina in the development of this Lady Xoc website. Our chance encounter had a touch of serendipity. Her knowledge of traditional Mayan wisdom resonated with me as I had recently returned from a volunteer project in Guatemala. Since our original meeting, Marina has been a blessing to be acquainted with. She has opened my eyes to the beautiful world of basket weaving and how she uses her shared knowledge as an avenue to spread her compassion for people in need. I can only hope that my contributions to this website have been an equal offer in response to her kindness. I am very thankful for the willingness of Linda Neff and her crew of graphic designers in helping me further develop this website. I look forward to collaborating with Marina, Linda and her wonderful graphic designers in the future support of Lady Xoc and its mission to serve as a support group for those in need.
The first time I met Marina, I was taking a Native American Class at Northern Arizona University Freshman year--now currently a Junior. I learned all about her back ground and she told many stories about where she grew up and was raised and how she came to the states. I recently found out that she makes Pine needle baskets. This is such an art that its so beautiful its hard to explain. I have grabbed on to this hobby and am trying to learn the best I can. I am so thankful for all that she has taught me and all her patience she has with me. I can not wait to write more, the more I learn about her culture. She has inspired me to some day visit Guatemala and learn first hand about the Mayan Culture.
Marina stands out in my life as an incredible soulful and generous person. Marina has helped me practice and significately improve my Spanish and in the process I am learning a great deal about the Maya cultur, which she passionately exudes. The pine needle baskets tokens of Marina's enthusiasm for teaching traditionall knowledge and creating simple beauty in the world.