If you ever have taken a hike in a forest populated by evergreens there’s little doubt you haven’t noticed the thick layer of pine needles carpeting the ground. Jessica Figueroa, a Guatemalan social entrepreneur and the general manager of Florales Vogué, was inspired by those strewn pine needles to create Setesïk.
Launched during the second half of 2013, Setesïk is a sustainable development project with the aim to create employment opportunities for families who live in Guatemala’s interior region. The organization provides work with fair wages, making it possible for families to have access to food, healthcare and education, but also providing them with a dignified way to live. The company started with only three artisans from a small village, but word soon spread. Today, Setesïk employs 130 women from eight villages.
The women participate in four training sessions to learn how to create tabletop accessories. The materials used are colored thread, a needle and the pine needles that are harvested from local forests, which are then transformed into braided baskets, coasters, and trays. The process is straightforward: the pine needles are collected from local forests. They’re separated and washed in bunches and then laid out to dry in the sun. Once dried, a small handful are bound with thread and twisted in a circular fashion that forms a flat spiral while sewing the pine needles together. The final touch is embroidering colorful thread around the edge to form a border.
Although the company is young, Figueroa has ambitious plans for Setesïk. Her goal is to create a Setesïk Foundation that will build houses for the artisans that are fueled by solar energy and include ecological stoves to cook; build schools in the communities and provide future employment opportunities for the next generation.
From February 1-4, Setesïk will be debuting its new collection of baskets, coasters, placemats and trays at Artisan Resources at NY Now at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. To purchase products, please visit www.floralesvogue.com.
For more information about the company, please visit www.setesik.com.