Why Cojolya?

Maintain. Empower. Celebrate.

Despite centuries of persistent domination and systematic racism, the backstrap loom weaving technique is a key Maya art form that has persisted intact in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. Cojolya is both a registered non-profit working to improve the lives of our artisans and their families, and a certified Fair Trade organization dedicated to the conservation of the tradition, not as a historical relic, but as an economically viable source of employment for our women weavers.

How does it work?
Our beginnings

Cojolya first emerged in 1983 during the Guatemalan Civil War, by infusing three visions. Candis E Krummel dreamed of producing beautiful designs and empowering women with income security, Elena Sojuel brought her love of the backstrap loom tradition, and Santiago Atitlán native, Antonio Ramirez Sosof, envisioned improving his beloved hometown. Since then, our in office team has changed but we continue to pursue Fair trade, respect and celebration of culture, and strengthening our beloved Santiago Atitlán.

Meet our People

Antonio Ramirez

Aka, "El Único". Tono is the only male who works on our office staff. Luckily, he's used to it, as he was part of the founding team along with two other women, and a team of female artisans. Tono has 5 children, one who is also a part of our artisan team!

Carina Coché Vásquez


Aka, "La Jefa". Our compassionate leader was born in Santiago, and  came to Cojolya after studying Economy for 7 years. She likes economics but also romance ballads tacos (con pollo) and chapstick. 

Maria Sosof

Master Weaver

Aka, "La Mamá". Maria Sosof was orphaned at 11 years old, and without any guidance, she taught herself to weave to support herself and her  siblings. Without Maria, our office would be a sad place without hugs and 'choco fruta'.

Founder and Director of Production

José Sicay Mesía

Director of the Mano a Mano Program

Aka, "El Maestro". Look out/AGUAS Tono, there's another man in our office! Fortunately, José has 4 sisters, one of whom is our master weaver apprentice, so he knows how we like to run things around here. He's not only the maestro as a teacher but he's also a painting master and has all the Cojolya-related knowledge.

Priscila Menezes


Aka, "La Dama de la Justicia". Coming to us from São Paulo, Brazil followed by London, Priscila may be a city lady, but she shows her love for Santiago Atitlán's lakeside grit in her Cojolya collection, Pueblo. She loves to stand up for the little guy (many here are literally shorter than her) and can make a mean chicken fajita, but don't call her "mom." She's definitely a cool aunt. 

Sara Izabel

Administrative Assistant

Aka, "La Princesa". She has lived in Santiago her whole life and has a 9 year old son named Lucas. No matter what she is doing, Sara is ready to whip out a fabulous pose for the camera. It's both impressive and sad for the rest of us.

Julia Pretsfelder

Aka, "La Astronauta". Born and raised in New York City, locals worry Julia may get hit by a tuk-tuk while she is daydreaming. Nevertheless, she'll definitely remember your sun, rising, and moon sign. Around Atitlán, you can find her playing fútbol, humming an unexpected mix of indie or reggaeton, and confusing coworkers with her Argentine Spanish accent.

Communications & Development Coordinator
PiLA Fellow 

Comercial Las Máscaras, 2nd floor, Calle Real
Cantón Tzanjuyu, Santiago Atitlán
Sololá, Guatemala


(502) 7721-7268

©2017 by Cojolya. Proudly created with Wix.com


  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Pinterest Icon
  • Black TripAdvisor Icon