WeaveSleeve has been in the making for a handful of years. It is the product of people who are passionate about providing one of a kind products fueled by a desire to help Central American artisans sustain themselves and preserve their culture. Andy Thunell is the founder of WeaveSleeve, and in his own words this is how WeaveSleeve has evolved...
"Over 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to live in Guatemala. I lived there for 2 years, and I fell in love with the culture and the people. It was incredible to live in a place where the culture was so rich and so visible through what the people wore and how they lived their lives. The textiles used to make authentic Guatemalan clothing is rich with colors and stunning in appearance. But the thing that struck me the most was the fact that these beautiful fabrics were handwoven, a tradition that had been passed down from generation to generation.
When I returned home from living there, I always had a desire to get back there and team up with artisans to create something that not only would be appreciated by the end consumer, but ultimately help support the people I grew to love. I have been fortunate to travel to Guatemala over a dozen times during the last 10 years and I noticed that even though the culture is still abundant, it isn't as dominant as it was when I lived there.
During one of my visits about five years ago, I was spending time with some Guatemalan families I've grown close to and we began talking about weaving. All the women in these families know how to weave, but when I asked if they were teaching their children none of them replied in the affirmative. They simply said that it wasn't profitable to weave and their time was dedicated to doing other things that could provide a living, so they hadn't passed on the tradition to their children by teaching them.
When I left from that visit I thought long and hard about that conversation. It was troubling to know that the Guatemala that I knew and grew to love over a decade ago was changing, and that a country so culturally rich was in danger of losing that uniqueness.The wheels in my head started turning, trying to come up with something to help preserve their culture.
Over the last five years, I made several trips to Guatemala specifically working on a way to help these people sustain themselves by weaving. I realized that selling unaltered pieces of handwoven textiles or table runners wasn't going to be the answer. I needed to reach a larger demographic, and that's where WeaveSleeve stemmed from. We take their handwoven art and transform it into handwoven sleeves to carry around everyday things."
Not only do WeaveSleeves help preserve a culture, they also help to show off each person's own uniqueness. You can finally carry something with you every single day that more closely fits your own style.