Multicolores Rug Hook Designer; Michaela Charnel Julajuj

Michaela lives with her parents and siblings in the rural village of Chuacruz, in the South-West of Guatemala. Michaela learned to rug hook in 2013 from rug hooking teachers Giendy Muj and Yolanda de Sucunu. Michaela has subsequently taught her sisters Irma and Yolanda to rug hook.

The use of geometric designs in Michaela's rugs are inspired by the symbols and motifs found in traditional Maya clothing: 'huipils' (blouses), 'fajas' (belts' and 'tzutes' (Carrying cloths). These symbols are representations of nature, folklore, and Maya cosmovision. Through the use of colors and patterns, the huipil also conveys information about the community where the woman was born. All of this, Michaela translates into her rugs to make them unique pieces of art reflective of Maya culture.

The Cooperative's ethos of mutual support and learning has really helped Michaela to overcome her shyness. She enjoys connecting with other women, exchanging ideas, and seeing things in a different way. She now feels less fearful, able to offer an opinion and give her point of view.

A severe case of bronchitis when she was 8 years old left Michaela with delicate health. Often, her family was unable to meet her medical expenses, but with income from rug hooking, she now sees a doctor on a regular basis and can afford medication.

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Michaela Charnel Julajuj