Secondary Research & Case Studies

To better understand the ecosystem of the craft sector in Guatemala, we collected information from different scales of the complex ecosystem: the exportation policies to a detailed analysis of different business models.

We also grounded our secondary research by examining the Brooklyn-based non-profit’s model carefully.

Participatory Field Research

Because we were lacking the artisan’s perspective, we were eager to know how they themselves viewed their situation and how they might describe their ideal future, so we decided to conduct a participatory research workshop during the field research trip to Guatemala in 2018. We also gained a more holistic understanding of expectations about the future of their community, their life, including their everyday routine, their perspectives of their culture and what they like and care about most.


  • Income generation is a priority.
  • They don’t design their textiles in the current model for distribution globally, but they feel a sense of achievement when they do on their own for personal use or small-scale sale.
  • They hope their work will be recognized and valued.
  • They rely heavily on the non-profit for providing them work opportunities and to distribute their textiles.
  • Some artisans want to have their own business.

Parallel production line

The Nosotras Tejemos, Nosotras Diseñamos (We Weave, We Design) project is our answer to this design opportunity, a parallel journey of production for a limited edition series that involves artisans in the design process.


In meeting with the non-profit’s leaders on the last day in Panajachel, we received feedback about our work and plans to move forward with the next steps of our project, the display of the objects created and sales in the US. They expressed gratitude and excitement, mentioning that they try to get the artisans participative and involved in the monthly empowerment workshops that they hold, but they haven’t seen them this active yet. Also, they were proud that the artisans seemed to be making their own decisions along the way, finding creative solutions to problems that arose throughout the week and being actively invested in the process. Thus, this project has benefited the artisans in creating a process by which they might be more involved in the design process, the fellows learning with artisans, and the non-profit who is gaining insight on how future empowerment workshops might be framed and conducted.