Swift Indiana Hosts a Mayan Hands Fair-Trade Sale

I am part of a thriving fiber community in Indiana. We are lucky to have so many guilds, great yarn and fiber shops, and workshop opportunities. Indiana also has a networking organization called Swift (Spinners and Weavers of Indiana Fibers and Textiles) that helps to spread the word about workshops and events throughout the state. Swift has an annual meeting each March at Conner Prairie, a living history museum in Fishers, Indiana. Nearly sixty people attended this year for a day spent spinning, knitting, and catching up. Great vendors were on hand to ensure that we did not go home without some beautiful fiber to work with this spring.

This year, Swift also hosted a Mayan Hands Sale. Mayan Hands is a fair-trade, nonprofit group that strives to create work opportunities for Guatemalan artisans. Active since 1989, Mayan Hands now works with about 150 women in the Guatemalan Highlands. The organization's director is familiar to many of us: Deborah Chandler, author of Learning to Weave and coauthor of Guatemalan Woven Wealth.

Hosting the sale was great fun and very easy. I let Mayan Hands know that I was interested in hosting a sale, and they sent a box full of beautiful textiles and baskets. I received the box several days before the meeting. I have to admit that resisting the urge to preshop was the most difficult part of the whole experience! We had a fantastic time unpacking the box at the meeting, and many items found happy new owners before they ever made it to the sale table.  After the sale, we packed up the unsold items and returned them to Mayan Hands. It is a pleasure to help support women and families in other parts of the world through our love of textiles.

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