<b>Latest Update</b><br><br> ?I started working with Novica in January 2020, at the start of the pandemic. My sales grew rapidly, and I did everything possible to deliver on time, to prove that I am a responsible artisan. Then we started receiving large orders for my 'Fiesta de San Juan' shawl, which became successful in the Novica catalog. When I saw that the orders were increasing and not stopping, I involved my family in the business and started paying other artisans to support me with the weaving. <br><br> ?Since we earn a fair price for our work, I have managed to pay the artisans well and on time, and they have not gone to work with anyone else. Our family income was increasing, and we were able to start paying off some debts. We had debts because, before Novica, the sales of the products had been inconsistent. Locally, handmade products no longer sell as well as they used to. Now that we have orders from Novica, we feel calmer because we can start paying the debts that were pending. We also did not have enough cash to invest in raw materials, and it was difficult for us to pay for our basic daily needs. We managed to pay off my son's tuition, which he owed for two years. <br><br> ?Now we are up to date, and that gives me a lot of peace of mind. I am most grateful to Novica for the orders they generate for me, because now I have constant work, and I am very happy to know that my textiles are seen and sold in other countries.?<br><br> <b>Original Artist Story</b><br><br> "I enjoy my art. Each step is an adventure and I discover new things every day that lead to better results and better designs to offer you.<br><br>"I'm Elena Ixtamer. I love being able to introduce myself to you. I was born in 1975 in a small town in Guatemala. I grew up admiring my country's natural beauty, and what place could be better than on the shores of Lake Atitlan? My mother was an artisan who wove on a backstrap loom and my father was a day laborer.<br><br>"When I was eight, my mother began teaching me to weave with patience and love. This art is learned by most women at a very young age. Due to its complexity, and because it is part of our traditions and customs, it is also part of a family legacy. Just as I learned from my mother, my mom learned from my grandmother. Now I'm teaching my own daughters because weaving by hand is an art that represents us as Guatemalans. It has given my family much joy, since it has been our main source of income, not just for me, but for many families.<br><br>"I have been weaving since 2004 and I really love it. I have learned many more techniques that have allowed me to experiment and grow. I dream of knowing that my designs are highlighting feminine beauty in other countries and that these women know that they are made with love and dedication because, when I weave, I'm always thinking of shoppers who are looking for a handmade, quality textile."