Types of Handicrafts

Two Mayan weaving techniques

Hammocks and hanging-chairs are an everyday life object in Guatemala. It is a regional product that finds its roots in two secular traditions of this Mayan land close to the Mexican Yucatán. Two artisanal manufacturing processes at the origin of two different kinds of authentic hammocks and hanging-chairs. Those native handicrafts allow us to offer the choice of premium quality net and fabric hammocks in cotton. Our aim is also to combat cultural appropriation, which often comes in the form of poor quality copies. We decided to explain here how original Mayan hammocks are handcrafted following two distinct Mayan traditional weaving techniques.

La Antigua Guatemala

The former capital of the country is a wonderful place to visit and surely one treasure of Guatemala! La Antigua Guatemala is a typical colonial town with paved street and colored houses. The traditional celebrations and the colorful clothes worn by many native people are a testimony of the living Mayan culture. On the local markets, you can find many Mayan handicraft, like jade and traditional textiles similar to the one used in the confection of our Mayan fabric hammocks.

The Pacific Coast

The pacific coast of Guatemala is only at a few hours reach from La Antigua. The climate like the way of living are however quite different. Hammocks are present inside or in front of every local houses with palm roofs. The handicraft of weaving hammocks is an ancient tradition of this tropical area. Fisherman’s net hammocks, similar to the ones from nearby Yucatán. Inhabitants living on this dark sandy volcanic coast of the Pacific often spend a few hours of the day laying or sleeping in such hammocks.

Even if they are handmade, the confection of our hammocks requires traditional tools. To weave the fabric of our hammock it is a “Mayan Wooden Loom” and for our fisherman’s hammocks it is a “Weaving Shuttle” .

Mayan Looms

The ways a population produce textiles is primordial characteristic of its culture. The Mayan are using complicated patterns and weaving techniques to create quality smooth and robust fabric. The most famous of the typical fabric is mainly used for clothing and is known as “Mayan huipil”. The price of traditional clothes, which can go really high, reflects the importance of textiles in the Mayan culture. The fabrication of Mayan fabric involves lots of know-how. Original Mayan wooden looms, quite the same as used for centuries, are widely used until nowadays.

To the present times, a great part of Mayan women are wearing traditional clothing. The conception of such clothes involves many hours of weaving. Textiles can actually represent a considerable part of the budget of Mayan women’s. Rich in colors and symbols, the traditional fabrics are often depicting some life forms like flowers and animals. The fine textile of our fabric hammocks and hanging chairs is also testimony of the dexterity of the mayan to craft quality fabric with some native technics and tools, like the traditional wooden looms used by our partner Mario.

Weaving shuttle

A shuttle, the same tool as the one used for weaving fishing nets around the world. Compared to a fishing net, the way the threads are woven on a hammock differs in its complexity. This unique pattern is what makes Mayan fisherman hammocks, the first worldwide, so comfortable. A real art, the same as the one used in the neighbor region of Yucatán. A repetitive but complex pattern which takes years to master and make of those net hammocks and hanging-chairs, perfect furniture for daily use.


Did we already tell you that innovation is part of the process of fabrication of our Fisherman’s hammocks and chairs? Our partner Alfonson is using an innovative bike-machine to gather the thin cotton threads into a soft and strong string. A demonstration that innovation doesn’t always require billions and can come from anywhere. This machine makes it possible to produce ecologically with no external source of energy, just human power and half of an old bike! An artisanal process that also gives part of its incomparable softness to our net hammocks and hanging-chairs.

Mayan wooden looms - Crafstmen weaving hammock fabric
Mayan wooden looms – Crafstmen weaving hammock fabric in La Antigua Guatemala
Our partner craftsmen weaving fisherman's net hammock in Escuintla
Our partner craftsmen weaving fisherman’s net hammock in Escuintla Taxisco

Tradition meets innovation

Traditions are treasures that evolve and get improved within time. Even so, many movements remain the same for ages, clever innovations are also part of the fabrication process! Most technics were improved over time, from the material used, originally vegetable fibers like hemp fiber, to the techniques involved to make it a soft and comfortable end product in cotton, wool and “sedalina”. That is probably what makes Mayan hammock to be renowned among the best in the world, even over time. In the videos bellow, we offer you an insight in part of the actual fabrication process of our Mayan fabric and net hammocks.

Mario partner craftsmen realizing our hammock fabric on authentic Mayan looms in the area of La Antigua Guatemala.
Alfonso using his green bike-machine to gather single cotton strings in the soft cotton he uses to weave hammocks and chairs.

Laboratory-tested materials

Proven resistance and conformity – Both our hammocks have been tested for compliance and conformity with the various standards in force in the European Economic Area. These tests were carried out at the end of 2022 by the specialist Intertek | Total quality. Assured. Conducted as part of the sale of our products by a major European distributor (Nature & Découverte), these tests confirmed the conformity of our two types of hammock and hanging chair. To check that our products comply with current standards, samples of our net hammocks and maya hammocks have undergone both endurance testing and spectrometry analysis. The latter confirmed that our products meet the most stringent requirements for the absence of heavy metals, carcinogenic dyes and formaldehyde in the Maya fabric hammock sheets and cotton ropes from which our net hammocks are made. Here are a few more details on Intertek’s tests and the relevant EU standards:

  • Strength: IHTM Hammock Protocol:

    Stability test + static load (200N)
    Endurance 10,000 cycles (at 1,000N)
    5,000 cycles (at 1,500N)
  • Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).

    This regulation was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on December 18, 2006.
    It aims to improve the protection of human health and the environment against the risks that chemicals can pose. REACH places responsibility for proving the safety of chemicals on the companies that manufacture, import and use them. It is designed to register, evaluate, authorize and restrict the use of chemicals within the European Union.
  • ISO 18254-1” standards
    This international standard specifies test methods for the analysis of certain properties of fiber-reinforced composite materials. ISO 18254-1 provides a framework for assessing the performance and durability of these materials, ensuring that they meet specific quality and safety standards.

Unity in variety

Most of our hammocks and hanging chairs are manufactured in 100% soft and robust organic cotton. The way our craftsmen are weaving and coloring the yarn varies depending on the hammock. Natural cotton, wool and sedalina, a mix of fiber containing mainly nylon, are the ideal materials to guarantee our clients a perfect level of comfort while laying in their hammock. There are many advantages to using cotton compared to synthetic materials, one of them is that it’s hypoallergenic. All our hanging-chairs and hammocks provide you a high resistance and softness. Our handmade products are mainly crafted in natural materials, from the hammocks to the traditional wooden masks that you will found under the Other mayan handicraft category of our shop.

Engagement for quality: “our vision of fair trade”

We make all what’s possible to offer the best quality of handcrafted furniture while supporting a community! Working directly with our partner and can guarantee that there are no extra intermediaries. We are not only selling our partners products, but we are working together with them. Keeping close relations with them, that what is allowing us to work on exclusive products and to take part in innovation. It also allows us to control of the quality of the Mayan hammocks and hanging-chairs we are offering and sending from Guatemala and Switzerland around the world. Do we want to do more than that in the future? Of course! We are already supporting one of our craftsman in the acquisition of a field, and we would like to contribute by making new spaces available for Mayan crafts and its learning.

Fisherman's going to see while the sun begin to rise over the beach of Monterrico - Guatemala / 2018
Fisherman’s on their boats while the sun begin to rise over Monterrico – Guatemala / 2018