Rug Money: How a Group of Maya Women Changed Their Lives through Art and Innovation written by Mary Anne Wise and Cheryl Conway-Daly details the creation and the triumph of Multicolores, a rug-hooking artist cooperative in Guatemala.
Rug Money serves as a template for how to start a nonprofit business while working hand in hand with traditional artisans in developing nations. Through a compelling narrative, the authors describe how they built a business framework from within the local culture and created successful teaching strategies that encouraged both artistic advancement as well as personal growth—all while establishing and maintaining their enterprise as a force in the global marketplace. Poignant individual profiles of several of the Maya artists and what participation in the project has meant to them bring the story from economics to heart. Joe Coca’s award-winning photography captures the spirit of the Maya women, their art, and their commitment to the organization and to one another.
Rug Money is a must-read for anyone with an interest in fair trade craft work, creative economies, economic development in developing nations, and women’s empowerment. The Multicolores story will inspire textile enthusiasts, rug-hooking artists, teachers, and designers.
Mary Anne Wise is a nationally recognized weaver, rug hooker, design teacher, and curator. During multiple in-depth trips to Guatemala, she was moved by the relentless poverty and lack of opportunity for Maya women. In response, Mary Anne volunteered to teach a how-to rug-hooking workshop as a possible new income source for indigenous women. This single workshop eventually led to cofounding Multicolores, a nonprofit rug-hooking cooperative in Guatemala. Mary Anne currently serves as Vice President. She is also President and cofounder of Cultural Cloth, a socially responsible business that sells and promotes the work of women textile artisans from around the world.
Cheryl Conway-Daly spent nearly twenty years as an academic researcher at universities in Northern Ireland and England, focusing on economic development and gender and equality. Her interest in working with grassroots organizations that focused on women’s empowerment prompted her departure from academia, leading her to Guatemala in 2009. Cheryl joined the rug-hooking project in 2013. Her ongoing commitment to helping the rug-hooking artists improve the quality of their lives and her skilled and creative management of the project have been crucial to its success. Cheryl helped found Multicolores where she currently serves as Director of Development.
Trade paperback, 160 pages, 9″ x 10″