What's Fabulous: MayaMam Weavers
MayaMam Weavers is a Mayan women's weaving cooperative in the western highlands of Guatemala that hand-weaves simply gorgeous all-cotton kitchen linens. They live and work in Cajola, a Maya Mam community where they weave, embroider, and sew textiles to produce income for their families. They also run classes in reading, writing and mathematics at their factory for the women and girls who work there.
In the U.S., the cooperative is represented by a company based in New Jersey that sells the products online as well as through retailers nationwide. I came upon them at a recent trade show called NY NOW where in a very crowded field, the MayaMam linens stood out for their beauty, quality and craft.
The women make shawls, belts, backpacks, tote bags, toiletry kits, pillows and table linens -- all beautiful and well priced -- but I was particularly drawn to their kitchen products. In my experience, kitchen linens can take quite a beating. Between frequent washings and contact with heat, knives, and the sharp tines of forks, our towels, aprons and pot holders can quickly look shabby. What's best is to find kitchen linens that can stand up to wear and tear. MayaMam's are sturdy, made from 100% cotton, woven expertly to add strength, and done in a range of appealing colors -- some are vivid, some are muted, and others are neutral.
The MayaMam kitchen linens are hand-woven on looms (there are photos of their manufacture on MayaMam Weavers' website), done in traditional Guatemalan-style stripes as well as plaids and solids. In addition to the range of colors and a new black and white collection, what drew me is the quality of their cotton. It's promised to get softer with every washing, which for me matters, as it's frustrating to reach for a kitchen towel only to find it stiff and not absorbent even if it's been washed a dozen times.
The potholders are lined and quilted to be protective, but they're supple enough to conform to your hand, which makes them safer to use.
Everything is well-priced, with potholders costing $10 to $12 each, and the 18" x 35" dishtowels are $28 to $35 for a matched pair.
You can see the company's entire line and read more about the women who make the products at MayaMamWeavers.com.