Mayan Handicrafts

Ishmael wood bowls While San Jose Succotz is most widely known for its expert slate carvers, local Mayan artisans produce a host of other art, many of which are showcased at the Riverside Shops. Wood carvings are common and most typically include utilitarian items such as serving plates, serving dishes, bowls, cups, and utensils, all cut and assembled in the homes of local artisans. A favorite are the wooden "tortilla warmers" designed to keep tortillas fresh and warm during the meal and beyond. The work of Ismael Chan is demonstrated to the right, including several small sugar serving bowls and a large wooden ice bucket.

Marias jewelry Throughout Succotz, young girls weave imagination and creativity into beaded bracelets and necklaces, producing endless designs in an assortment of sizes and colors to give to each other and to sell to tourists and other passers-by. Beads are purchased en masse by gaggles of youngsters and their mothers who venture a few miles west to the markets in the border town Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala. Effortlessly threading wire through millimeter-sized beads with breakneck speed, girls will create custom designs for customers waiting at the Riverside Shops.

Marias jewelry Jewelry also is often produced by the wives of slate carvers, and is prominently displayed throughout the shops, showcasing the local flora and fauna of Succotz. Leather, carved bone, coconuts, and nuts from the Guanacaste and other native trees all are tastefully interwoven into creative designs. To the right, Maria Chan - famed wedding dress seamstress of Succotz and a textile instructor in San Ignacio - proudly shows off her assortment of necklaces strung with Guanacaste nuts, shells, stone, and beads.