52 years ago, in a small village in the department of Sololá, Guatemala, Marcela Par was born into a humble family, made up of her two parents and her 8 siblings. Marcela's smile totally infects the people who know her. With great enthusiasm and pride, she shows her collection of products, all made on traditional foot looms, a family art that Marcela preserves with great love. Bad experiences have shaped her today as a person full of strength, humility and a heart full of goodness, who seeks with art to continue to provide her children with the necessary support to have a future full of light and success.
"The art of weaving is something I learned from a very young age, because at that time the opportunities for women in society were very scarce. Most of the girls weren't able to study, because we had to stay at home doing the cleaning or helping our mothers. That was why my mother, with a lot of love, dedicated herself to teaching us in her free time to weave on traditional backstrap looms and later on standing looms. It is something that I am very grateful for, because thanks to her this is the business that has supported my family.”
At the young age of 15, Marcela got married, as it was part of certain traditions that her ancestors had, and an event that marked her life forever.
“After I got married, together with my husband we went to live at my mother-in-law's house. Without knowing it, my ordeal began there. She was very mean to me. She discriminated against me; insulted and mistreated me. I was the one who did the housework, and I had to get up at 3 in the morning to grind the corn to make breakfast tortillas for the whole family. I couldn't defend myself. I was very scared, but I couldn't leave the house either, because I didn't know what was going to happen.
“My husband started to drink a lot; there was no day when he did not come home drunk. We already had 5 children, and they could see this unfortunate situation. He also treated me very badly verbally, though I thank God very much that he never hit me. His addiction led to his death, and I became a widow at 32.
“With 5 children, my concern was great. I began to work in houses, cleaning, washing clothes, cooking, and making textiles. Little by little the money came into my house, but it was not enough. We continued living with my mother-in-law, but the bad issues did not cease. It was still difficult for me to continue under the same roof, but God strengthened my spirit. I was able to continue despite the situation, until she passed away and I could breathe. Stronger than ever, I continued fighting for my children.
"With a lot of effort, I managed to move them forward. Everyone has had the opportunity to study. As I could not do it, that fills me with great joy; it makes me very proud. Life improved, but it struck me again when my daughter, Gladys, suffered from epilepsy. It causes violent seizures and sudden blackouts. This disorder requires a lot of care and expensive medications. I always have to be with her and taking care of her, because she falls often, and I do not want her to hit her head when she falls. She is currently on medication, but the symptoms do not stop. They continue to interfere with her daily work. It is something that makes me very sad, because she cannot perform as she would like. She is barely 21 years old, and I would like her to be cured. I want to continue working to get better medicines so that she can have a normal life, because it hurts me a lot to see her like this.
"The art of weaving is an essential part of my life, because it has given me the opportunity to give my children a better life than the one I had. I ask God a lot to always protect and guide them so that they can make the right decisions for his life. I dream of being able to see my products in other countries, and see the love with which I make them reflected in them. I really appreciate the opportunity to be part of this family of artisans. I promise to give my best effort and dedication in everything that I do. God bless you as you are contribute to the success of many people with many dreams and hopes for a better future.”