Handmade Leather Accent Cotton 'Scarlet Maya' Large Shoulder Bag (Guatemala)

by Novica
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ITEM# 15914128
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    ITEM#: 15914128

    This handmade creation is offered in partnership with NOVICA, in association with National Geographic.

    Handwoven textures illuminate an expanse of scarlet in a cotton shoulder bag. By women of Komon Utzil, this beautiful shoulder bag is fully lined and trimmed with supple leather with three convenient inner pockets, one with a zipper.

    Product Features:

    • Weight : 0.9 lbs
    • Dimension :  Bag: 12" H x 17.75" W x 7" D , Straps: 68 cm L x 2.54 cm W
    • Colors: Red, purple, yellow, blue, green
    • Style: Shoulder bag
    • Construction: 100-percent cotton, leather trim
    • Exterior: Woven
    • Entry: Zipper-top
    • Lining: Solid brown cotton
    • Interior pockets: Two open-top, one zipper-top
    • Made in Guatemala.

    Story Behind the Art:

    Meaning "For the Wellbeing of All" in the Maya language, Komon Utzil was founded in 1989 by a big-hearted Guatemalan anthropologist who prefers to remain unnamed. She was touched by the generosity the local women showed her, but at the same time she was distressed over the lack of opportunities that they had to earn an income. She decided she wanted to give these women something back, something useful. It seemed to her that there could be a way for the women to earn money with their one marketable skill – weaving.

    Since its inception, Komon Utzil has worked in more than a dozen communities around the western and northern highlands of Guatemala, organized in groups from 12 to 50 women. They presently provide fair trade work to approximately 200 women. As an NGO with five employees in Guatemala, they work to assist the women with product design, quality control, and marketing. 

    We have gone through many difficulties in these years. Hurricane Stan comes to my mind, it buried the village of one of our groups in a mudslide and even though close to 1,000 people were buried alive, we lost only one family from the group. That week we suddenly became an emergency aid agency for approximately 40 families. While our women and their families were not killed, they were plenty traumatized. Over the next year or more, with help from many friends, we provided a lot of material help: stoves, clothing, toys (the group had 94 children in all), beds, a psychologist, cash, new looms, etc. In the end we were able to give each family a substantial amount of money to put into their new homes (their old ones were all destroyed or damaged), whatever or wherever they were. But best of all was that the women knew that when they were ready to work again, the work was waiting, so they still had a future to look forward to.

    Changing subjects, we have had lots of great moments too! Here's one that is a little bit funny, also very telling. Our first field worker was working with a group who for some reason had made the same coin purses they had been making for years a quarter of an inch bigger than ever before. Mystified, she asked why, and was told that that was what the order said: 8", which she read as 8 plus two lines on the measuring tape. Of course. What we are reminded of constantly is that women who have had little or no schooling do not know things the rest of us take for granted, like that two little lines up high means inches.  

    Please allow 10 business days for the product to leave our warehouse and to receive tracking information. You should expect to receive this item within 15 business days.

    Measurement Guide

    All measurements are approximate and may vary slightly from the listed information


    Feature Multi-Compartment
    Handbag Material Cotton
    Color Multi, Pink
    Main Closure Type Zipper
    Dimensions 7.0 In. X 17.75 In. X 12.0 In.
    Model Number 194714
    Country of Origin Guatemala
    • Verified Purchase

      Exactly as pictured. Beautiful work and lovely, quality fabric. Straps are wide enough to stay on shoulders and strong enough to hold a well-filled bag.

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    Leaves our warehouse in 1-10 business days. *

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    ** Most Oversize orders are delivered within 1-4 weeks. Some orders may take 6 weeks to be delivered.