How two handcraft businesses support Latin American cultural connections


SILER CITY — Bracelets with the Colombian flag and other hand-crafted goods will be sold by seven artisans displayed at Saturday’s Hispanic Heritage Fiesta. 

Their work is infused with Latin American culture — creating connection through craft.

“What inspires me most is making and seeing how happy people are with the things they use,” says Maria Whitesell, owner of Maria Accesorios. 

Whitesell was also inspired by the possibility of having her own business. Other artisans with displays at the festival include Artesanía de Francis, Nery’s Mexican Accessories, Artesanales Hernandez, Artesanía Mex. Co, Artesanías Sol, and Colibri.

The festival, sponsored by The Hispanic Liaison, will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday on the 200 block of North Chatham Avenue in downtown Siler City. 

For Whitesell, the quality of her work is important. 

“I love it when someone uses (my product) and above all, when they say ‘I went to the beach, I spent three days in the ocean and look, my bracelet is still perfect,’” Whitesell said. 

Whitesell’s business started on a trip to the U.S. when she was visiting her sister. Her sister had asked for bracelets and Whitesell decided to make them herself instead of buying them. Today, Whitesell makes bracelets, earrings, keychains, and necklaces by hand with materials brought from Colombia. 

Whitesell said she is returning to the Fiesta after participating in 2018 because it was so successful in the past. Whitesell said she expects to have bracelets with the Colombian and Mexican flag among her accessories at the Fiesta. 

Another small business that will be at the Fiesta is Artesanías Sol. Gabriela Solorio is the owner of Artesanías Sol, a business she runs with her husband, Christian. They are both Mexican and were raised in the U.S. Artesanías Sol sells a wide variety of products. Solorio says that they have everything for the kitchen and home from mugs to decorations. 

“It’s really important to us to know about our culture,” Solorio said about her and her husband’s motivation for selling handcrafts. 

All of the crafts are brought from Mexico. 

“Many people don’t know (this) but everyday there are less and less artisans in Mexico,” Solorio says. “This also inspires us to bring (the crafts) here.”

Solorio said that they started their business about a year ago and that they hope to share their business and Mexican handcrafts at the Fiesta. 

“Handcrafts are really important for Mexican culture,” Solorio said. “They represent us as Mexicans.”

Some of the handcrafts sold by Artesanías Sol are made of clay. 

“Clay is a dust, a dust that people use to make a creation, to make art,” Solorio said. “What I loved most – everything is handmade, everything is made with love.”  

For more information, go to www.evhnc.org.

Hispanic Heritage, Fiesta, Siler City, Hispanic Liaison, festival