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Designing, Stitching & Constructing Embroidered Dolls in Guatemala

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Yesterday, was our day long Embroidery Workshop. This is the third workshop that we have taught in Guatemala in the last six months. Our only regret is that we had only one day. Look carefully at the new embroideries. The artisan women have progressed at an amazingly fast pace.

We started out the day making the paper doll pattern by folding a piece of paper and drawing half the shape and cutting it out. To make copies of the pattern we held the pattern up to the window and traced a copy.

Then it was time for the artisans to share their homework with the class. Their assignment was to draw 15 different men and women wearing traditional Guatemalan dress – traje. They were challenged to put as much detail into each drawing as possible. We noticed that the embroidered dolls that they made using the patterns were more detailed than the original pencil drawings.

“They seem to be more comfortable drawing with thread than with pencils,” explained Cultural Cloth’s Mary Anne Wise, who is the lead teacher. “The drawings turned into very sophisticated designs when embroidered.”

As always, the artisans filled the room with laughter and chatter as they cut, sewed and stuffed their dolls. The women artisans enjoyed the change of routine and a chance to get together and learn from each other. 

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