Brand profile

Pixan is the community brand of the Association of Women of the Highlands (Asociación de Mujeres del Altiplano AMA), which empowers indigenous Mayan women through women’s circles focusing on health, education, civic engagement and entrepreneurship.

FOUNDER: Guadalupe Ramirez

TEAM: 6 full-time employees and 170 artisans.

LOCATION: Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

MATERIALS: Colorful quality fabric inspired by local designs.

TECHNIQUE: Weaved high-quality fabric from naturally dyed cotton threads on foot or backstrap looms.

Founded by

Guadalupe Ramirez

More than 20 years ago Guadalupe Ramirez, the founder of Pixan, bought the women of her first women's circle high quality thread to weave textiles for the market in Chichicastenango and for church sales in the United States. With this business, they were able to make money to support their families after their husbands and fathers were murdered during Guatemala's 30 year internal conflict. These women who had relied solely on men for income were able to support themselves and their families, and the support of the circle helped them through the tragedy. Out of this experience the idea for the establishing the community brand Pixan was born.

The story

Pixan works with 270 Mayan artisan women across the highlands of Guatemala. The womenweave the high-quality fabricfrom naturally dyed cotton threadson foot or backstrap loomsapplying century old weaving techniques. In Guatemala, this ancient craft is used on a dailybasis to createfabric for clothes andhome textiles, but most importantly the traditional dress of the Mayan women, known as a huilpil. This garment is closely tied to cultural identity—each woman weaves her own huilpil in the same fashion as her women before her, taking up to months to weave her unique fabric.

Foot loom weaving

Foot loom weaving, an ancient method historically reserved for men due to its physical demands, was made accessible to women by Pixan, who believed in their equal capabilities. After training under a master foot loom weaver, Pixan donated wooden foot looms to Mam & K'iche communities. This process involves the weft passing over and under the warp repeatedly while pedals open and close the sheds by raising and lowering the harness. The diverse fabric and patterns woven today reflect generations of knowledge passed down.

B'atz' - rainbow Pixan Pillow - White Label Project

Backstrap loop weaving

Backstrap loom weaving, an ancient Mayan art in Guatemala, remains a daily practice. This unique technique involves the weaver's body as the key component, with one end of the loom tied to a tree or post and the other secured around the waist or backside. Weaving typically lasts 4 to 6 hours, with weavers sitting on the ground or using a small stool as they age. Despite the discomfort, they pour their emotions into each piece. Completing a 25x25 cm panel takes 3 weeks to 1 month, varying based on design and size.