Hello, hello. I've been on a bit of a hiatus from social media in the last few weeks with finals wrapping up and college coming to a [long overdue] close! I'm heading to Cuba next week with my friend Emily, as per my chronic inability to stay in Boston, but will be more-or-less (likely, less) stateside for the summer before moving to Scotland in September. Contact me to set up photo sessions and collaborations before I leave and/or decide to flee sooner!
Today, though, I wanted to share some photos of my recent (return) to Lake Atitlán in Guatemala this March. I was incredibly lucky to share some of this place with my friend Karen (with whom I'm starting something very-exciting-and-soon-to-be-announced) for the first few days, and with my friend Sofia for the last bit of my trip. My enthusiasm for these two knows no bounds.
I'm completely incapable of expressing my adoration for this country and its people in words (as those of you who know me can attest from my constant and incoherent proclamations of love for Guatemala). Atitlán is an indescribably special place, owing its natural beauty but also to the incredibly vibrant communities around the Lake. In no other place have I met people of such spectacular warmth and creativity. Consider this the pretext for my next return trip to the lake before Scotland.
san marcos, la laguna
Casa Flor Ixcaco, San Juan
San Juan is easily my favorite town on the lake. There's a pervasive culture of creativity and value for craft throughout, from art studios to weaving cooperatives, many of which employ traditional Mayan cosmology and technique in their designs. Karen and I visited one in particular, Casa Flor Ixcaco- a cooperative of 23 women artisans.
After the 1980's civil war in Guatemala, more than 400 weaving styles were lost. In an effort to keep culture and craft alive, the women of San Juan joined to create Casa Flor Ixcaco. Importantly, fundamental to their work is an intrinsic respect for Mayan culture, and a commitment to handmade goods based not on a patronizing charity framework but instead on producing and sharing authentic pieces valued on the basis of craft.
The degree of technicality, attention to detail and creativity in their design is unparalleled. The artisans grow different varietals of organic cotton, which they hand spin onto spools before dying the yarn in an array of colors, all of which are derived from natural materials around the Lake. After the died cotton has dried the women begin to spin out the yarn, threading intricate patterns into the design before beginning the weaving process on backstrap looms. The process of a single scarf may take up to a month to weave.
Photographing the process was such joy. You can explore more about the cooperative, their process and their woven goods, here.
More to come soon! xx