Ixoki A’J Quiemo L’, Santiago Zamora, Guatemala

2009 - 2010

In Santiago Zamora we worked with the weaving cooperative Ixoki A’J Quiemo L’ (“Native Women Weavers” in the Kaqchikel language). In the beginning we worked with the community to create a video of who they are, what their town is about, and what they want to share about their culture and traditions. The video is a combination of footage shot by us, by them, as well as photos taken by the kids from a participatory photography workshop led by New School students.

On the business side we spent a lot of time on strategy and “fair wages”. In one exercise the women broke down their product costs to extract each piece’s hourly pay rate and then we contrasted this with the national minimum wage. This new understanding of labor costs coupled with their knowledge of the local artisanal goods market led to make some needed production and pricing adjustments.

We also conducted a design critique of the cooperative’s artisan goods. As homework, we asked Ixoki to come up with a product that would take them just an afternoon to make (as opposed to 300 hours for a table runner) – the following day, they came to the workshop with a prototype for a bracelet! There was a workshop as first step for new designs, so that they might distance themselves from using existing design patterns which are sold in local markets all over Guatemala.

As Ixoki A’J Quiemo L’ has a community tourist program, we decided to focus on that initiative: we experienced the program (as tourists) and provided them feedback and suggestions; we redesigned their branding materials adding a logo and english translation; our student team also mapped out a distribution strategy for Antigua – a nearby city with a more active tourist market.

Artisan Group

  • Ixoki A’J Quiemo L’


  • Hashel Al Lamki, Parsons, Architectural Design
  • Isabella Amstrup, Parsons, Integrated Design
  • Tatom Henrich, Parsons, Product Design
  • Aakriti Kumar, Parsons, Product Design
  • Brianna Morris, Parsons, Design and Management
  • Arielle Paredes, Parsons, Integrated Design
  • Mindy Tom, Parsons, Product Design
  • Lisa Ahn, Milano, Organizational Change Management
  • Linda Cadavid, The New School, International Affairs
  • Melissa Edwards, The New School, International Affairs
  • Lindsay Mazzocco, The New School, International Affairs
  • Flannery Miller, The New School, International Affairs
  • Shannan Smith, The New School, International Affairs
  • Monica Toledo Fraginals, Parsons, Integrated Design
  • Anita Wahi, The New School, International Affairs
  • Paula Winograd Caycedo, Parsons, Design and Technology


  • Cynthia Lawson, Associate Professor, Parsons
  • Fabiola Berdiel, Director, International Field Program, The New School
  • Pascale Gatzen, Associate Professor, Parsons

Special Thanks / Partners


  • Parsons School of Design Strategies

Blog Posts

Summary, summer 2010

Our last few days in Guatemala were so hectic we did not get around to blog and report back on all of the work we were able to accomplish. Now,

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A story of group dynamics

As was the case with our first group, Ajkem’a Loy’a, in San Lucas Toliman, this summer we have experienced our bit of small-town gossip, envy, and jealousy, and a translation

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A new product (already!)

On Friday, during our first meeting in Santiago Zamora we briefly discussed with the cooperative that they need to be strategic about what they make in terms of pricing. As

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The tourist program

During the spring semester course at Parsons, Designing Collaborative Development, our student team prototyped ideas they felt could benefit the group of artisan women in Santiago Zamora.  The overarching idea

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Logo prototypes

We want to help Ixoki A’J Quiemo L’ (the Mayan weavers cooperative in Santiago Zamora) brand themselves so as to create stronger promotional materials for them to distribute in Antigua

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We have divided our days into doing field research around Antigua, which is the most touristy city in Guatemala, full of cafés, restaurants, and of course, tourists studying spanish and

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Our team

This is the summer 2010 team that will be working in Antigua and Santiago Zamora, Guatemala until late June.  This year we have 7 students and 1 faculty member, all

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We’re back in Guatemala!

We are thrilled to be back in Guatemala and will be updating you via this site during the next 10 days.  This summer we are prototyping a smaller scale initiative

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They Have a Name!

We are excited to announce that the women in Santiago Zamora have come to an agreement on a name for their association: Ixoki A’J ru xel Quiem or “Señoras Tejedoras

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Kids-with-Cameras Project in Santiago Zamora We have finally begun our “kids-with-cameras” project with the sons and daughters of “Las Estrellas de Santiago Zamora.”  Our first day of teaching photography to

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Filming in Santiago Zamora

As we push open the corrogated metal gate to Lucia’s yard we hear the familiar sounds of life in Santiago Zamora–Emmanuel’s tiny feet on the dirt as he giggles and

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Our student team

Every time I travel with a team of students for an international project, I truly believe that group could never be surpassed in their energy, skills, support for one another,

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Santiago Zamora

We have been working in the municipality of San Antonio Aguas Calientes since the beginning of June, and we finally had the opportunity to visit Santiago Zamora – a small

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Teaching Spaces

To be resourceful is always a prevalent, yet unpredictable, learning opportunity that these kinds of fieldwork programs offer to our students. This year, in particular, we have had some challenging

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Overheard in Antigua, Guatemala

A family of tourists overheard at one of the many stalls of Antigua’s large artisan market: Man (holding a football/soccer jersey up) asking vendor, “Do you have a jersey from

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