Hardcore handicraft * A sustainable, sociocultural project between Berlin & Chiapas. Sophisticated bags & accessories which honor their ancient origin




How can the traditional handicraft in the cultural heritage of the Mayan Tzotzil in Chiapas which is threatened of extinction be preserved with the help of a sensitive product adaptation, without neglecting the historical context and the traditional choice of material?
For the project Cho‘jac the prior motivation is to maintain the socio-cultural background. Therefore, the focusis not only on the design, but also on its embedding in a larger context. Currently, the development is focused on a transformation of the Cho‘jac and a combination with additional, sustainably gained material components from local production in order to adapt it to a wider circle of users. Apart from the transformation of the traditional net bag, the cooperation with indigenous artisan families and the development of a marketing concept plays an important role, which aims to secure the preservation of the tradition in the long term by opening up new sources of income. The sustainable approach of the Cho‘jac is not limited to the original producers but to the entire value chain. At the end of the day, a high-quality, in Germany woven linen and local vegetally tanned leather will be processed in a workshop for people with disabilities. This idea was already further developed through low-threshold courses in the Chiapas region, which spread the traditional culture technology among the local population, and through the involvement of local craftsmen in the development of new design alternatives. The project was nominated for several sustainable design prices already.