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Antigua Afternoon

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lisa, Liz and Jeff leading me through the streets of Antigua, Guatemala. That brilliantly-colored zone above the building is what is called a blue sky. Dig back into your memory...

Three trips to Guatemala, and I was finally going to see just a smidgen of Antigua, a gorgeous colonial city not far from Los Tarrales, near Lake Atitlan. Antigua is justly famed for its architecture, which has a Moorish influence, and its textiles. Its markets pull in the best Atitlan's Mayan weavers have to offer, and my head almost exploded when Jeff and Liz, who'd stayed here overnight, took me into the nicest textile shop. I overloaded, and couldn't buy a darn thing. Too much to choose from.I never got used to looking up and seeing a volcano, its massive dangerous head wreathed in clouds of its own making. Garden fans, this is what a yellow brugmansia looks like when it's really, really happy. Oh, I could spend a long, long time in Antigua, just photographing flowers and fabrics and buildings. Finally, with only about twenty minutes to spare before we had to leave for Los Tarrales, we bolted into the big marketplace, where hand-made papier mache monsters greeted us. How do you get something like this in your luggage? Darn it! Liam would have loved one.I finally assuaged my textile lust buy purchasing a couple of huipils, the traditional poncho-like overshirt worn by Maya women. See that hole in the middle? That's where your head goes through. Then it drapes over your shoulders, leaving your hands free.

It's as if the weavers know exactly what color combinations will drive me wildest. I bought one for Bill, covered in stylized dragons. I'm sitting now in a chair, my favorite blogging chair, an old family heirloom from the 1950's. It's got a tough nylon-chenille fabric, cut with a tracery of roses. It used to be rose-pink, but it's faded to an elegant dove-grey. And draped over it is my new huipil,embroidered in vibrant flowers and stylized quetzals, their colors fresh and new, and it still smells of woodsmoke from the cooking fires where it was woven on a backstrap loom. I paid about $20 for it, all that hand loomed fabric, all that work. I felt like buying the whole darn rack of them. They make terrific throws for weary furniture.

You can take it with you, just a little bit of it.


The hummers are on the move!

They won't make it northern Wisconsin until May 6ish.

Wow! That is something we did not get to talk about, but I have big textile lust. If you need anyone to go with you to Guat, just let me know. I always have a passport.

My father-in-law used to grow brugmansias that were that happy, almost. The DH and I don't quite have the touch yet!

Gorgeous gorgeous colors in the weavings. I am always struck with how lovely woven fabrics are in various settings around the world.

That volcano is a monster on a good day :o)

The fabrics are incredible, Julie. I'd buy them up, too, but traveling with them is a problem. Yes, throws for weary furniture, colors for accents, bright and rich.

Love them!

That's only one of the many things I love about your posts - your eye for beauty however it appears. Flowers, birds, papier mache monsters, and - especially! - lovingly handwoven fabrics. If you ever tired of writing/painting/talking about birds, you'd have a ready made career as an importer of unique crafts.

Lectric Lady, I love that map!! Thank you! Everyone check it out! We expect them around April 17 here in so. Ohio. Funny how they go up the coasts first--to so. NY?? Yikes! I wouldn't go there on a dare, looking for flowers.

Trixie, there's so much we didn't cover. Should have shown you the huipil quilt. I had to take it off the bed because Chet chews his gnarly Nylabones there every morning, crunch crunch crunch. It's his happy place. And he paws it up into a mashie to lie in, ummmm. Not so good for hand embroidery. Living around the doggeh.

Laura, I love brugmansias, but they're a bit too much plant for my garden, which is insanely crowded as it is.

Mare, luggage gets unwieldy fast when you have a lust for hand-loomed bedspreads. In South Africa, I took a liking to stone carvings. Now that made for some immovable luggage.

Peg, that's why we always fold up a couple of duffels in the suitcases. It's half pleasure, half torture, seeing all the things I have no room to take back. And yes, I've considered buying for resale, and may just do it some day. But don't look for a gallery of Guatemalan purses and throws on the web site anytime too soon. If wishes were horses...

Nice post. I don't know if I understand what you mean by "blue sky." I vaguely recall something like that, but I'm just kinda confused....

All will be revealed come summer, Grasshoppa. You must be patient. Perhaps in July, perhaps not, you will see the golden orb. For now, relax into gray.

Allow me belated felicitations on your happy union!! Saw the pix!! I definitely would have been late for that ceremony. I'm late for everything. I could empathize with Laura and Susan soooo much.


Julie, I always love coming here to visit. You have the most beautiful pictures, and your adventures take me away... Thanks for all the day brighteners!

Nice that you got to take a bit of Guatemala back home with you :)

The monster reminded me of a trip to Jamaica when my sister just could not part with a huge carved eagle she found for $50. She carted that sucker onto the plane and it sat in the floor between her legs. The wingspan must have been two Don't think the FAA could quite go for that these days. Such beautiful wares there. Glad you were able to bring some some things.

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