Maria Estela lives in the rural village of Chirijquaic in the western highlands of Guatemala with her husband and two young sons, ages 5 and 4. She learned to rug hook in 2013 from her mother-in-law, rug hooking teacher Carmen Maldonado.
Maria Estela's rug designs are inspired by the symbols, motifs and colors found in traditional Maya clothing. Her rugs were featured in two exhibitions of hooked rugs by the Maya Women's Rug Hooking Cooperative at the Avenir Museum, Fort Collins, Colorado and at the Textile center in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2016.
Maria Estela is motivated by hopes of creating a better life for children. She said, "My goal is to work hard and earn money so that my children can study. Although I wanted to continue in school my mother didn't have the resources, so I had to leave when I was 11 years old." With income from rug hooking, Maria Estela is also saving to buy a piece of land which her children can inherit. She is hopeful that they will grow up more confident and secure because of her work.
"I am very proud of what we have achieved. Today we are able to bring the opportunity of rug hooking to more than 60 women, families that need help to move forward, as I at one time needed it."
Maria Estela Az Tamayac