Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Bigger Mosaic

Up to this point, all the mosaics I've made have used approximately 1/2" squares of huipil fabric. However, a few evenings ago I decided to start one using 1" squares. I'm planning to do a much larger one for myself once we return to the US and I have access to larger watercolor paper and/or canvases. It took me hours upon hours to cut all 108 squares and arrange them, but I like the result! You can see a bit more of the patterns, like the 11 birds from a Santiago Atitlan huipil that I used for accent pieces, than you can when the squares are smaller.

These mosaics are a great way for me to use up huipil scraps that are too small to include in the scrap samplers I sell. But they are very, very time intensive, so I have to be in the right mood to make one :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Thank you to all my readers and customers for making 2008 a great year for La Chapina!

Merry Christmas (and Feliz Navidad!) Happy Hanukkah, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy Pancha Ganapati, and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Something New

I hadn't done much besides the Christmas ornaments with huipil fabric recently, so I've made a small batch of fabric pins with appliqued felt hearts. I thought they'd be cute as Valentine's gifts, since they are inexpensive ($5.50) and can be given to many people: to a teacher to put on her cardigan, to a girl to put on her backpack, to a mom to put on her purse or diaper bag, to a doctor to put on her coat, etc. They'd be cute attached to a little mug full of candy or a small basket, too!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tiny Baskets

These little baskets are so cute and colorful. I bought some at a new little tienda here in town. They're only between 1 1/2" - 2" tall... Wouldn't they be cute on a wreath? Yet another "little something" I need to stock up on before leaving Guatemala :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cool Find

Last week I was in the capital with a friend of mine, and we came across a used book sale. Even used books are expensive in Guatemala, so mostly we were just browsing and moving on. But then we stumbled on something really cool! A big stack of Life magazines from the 1960s, in Spanish. All kinds of articles about the US space program, President Kennedy, and celebrities of the day.

I bought half the stack of 30-something magazines, and my friend bought the other. They're fun to read through, but they will also be great for crafting. I'd been thinking about buying some vintage books in Spanish for this purpose, but these are even better! Here's a photo of three of them.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Spanglish Christmas Poem

I read this in a local magazine and thought it was cute!

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the casa,
not a creature was stirring - ¡Caramba! ¿Qué pasa?
Los niños were tucked away in their camas,
some in long underwear, some in pijamas,
while hanging the stockings with mucho cuidado,
in hopes that old Santa would feel obligado,
to bring all children, both buenos and malos,
a nice batch of dulces and other regalos.
Outside in the yard there arose un gran grito,
and I jumped to my feet like a frightened cabrito.
I ran to the window and looked out afuera,
and who in the world do you think that he era?
Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero,
came dashing along like a loco bombero.
And pulling his sleigh instead of venados,
were eight little burros approaching volando.
I watched as they came and this quaint little hombre,
was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:
''Ay Pancho, ay Pepe, ay Cuco, ay Beto,
ay Chato, ay Chopo, Maruco, y Nieto!''
Then standing erect with his hands on his pecho,
he flew to the top of our very own techo,
with his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,
he struggled to squeeze down our old chimenea.
Then huffing and puffing at last in our sala,
with soot smeared all over his suit de gala,
he filled all the stockings with lively regalos,
none for the niños that had been very malos.
Then chuckling aloud, seeming very contento,
he turned like a flash and was gone como el viento,
and I heard him exclaim, y ¡esto es verdad!
Merry Christmas to all, ¡y Feliz Navidad!

--author unknown

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Feature on Travel Turtle

My shop and I have been featured on a blog called Destination Travel Turtle, which has posts about traveling, interesting locations around the world, art, and more. In the feature, I talk about my favorite things about Antigua, Guatemala, and my craft inspirations. Check it out! :)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cute Little Girls With Their Birds

This is possibly the sweetest huipil collar I've seen yet. It's completely hand-embroidered and features a little girl and a bird in each corner. Sometimes the hand-embroidered collars are more crude in their stitches, but you can tell the woman who made this one really took her time.

Sale update: The jewelry sale is going great, with 11 pieces of jewelry sold so far. Still 2 1/2 days left!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Huge Jewelry Sale!

I have marked down all my jewelry* 20%-25% between now and the end of Monday, December 1!

As always, every jewelry item comes with a Guatemalan fabric gift bag.

Check out my Eco-Friendly Seed Jewelry section and my Fun Ceramic Jewelry section for a total of 53 pieces of jewelry on sale! Choose from earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and sets starting at only $3.50 :)

*except for one piece: the custom girls' bracelet

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

San Pedro Sacatepequez

The huipiles from San Pedro Sacatepequez have a very dense weave and are very colorful. The ceremonial versions are white with purple and red. Here's an everyday use huipil from San Pedro that I got last week. More photos of San Pedro textiles are here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Amazing Hand Embroidered Collar

This round, scalloped huipil collar is hand embroidered with large flowers and two birds. I love the detail of the birds - And this collar is very soft!

Friday, November 21, 2008

San Andres Xecul

I found a great huipil from San Andres Xecul, made on commercial white eyelet fabric. It has the traditional animal designs machine embroidered around the collar and sleeves and is just beautiful!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blusas from Coban

I purchased these blusas (blouses) from Coban for a customer. Coban blusas are often made of commercial lightweight fabric like lace or eyelet and have beautiful hand embroidery and knotting around the collars and sleeves. The style of the flowers is called rococo.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reina de los Barriletes

Santiago Sacatepequez is the village known for its giant kites flown in the cemetary on All Saints' Day/Day of the Dead (Nov 1 and 2). They have other festivities leading up to the big holiday, including the crowning of the Reina de los Barriletes (Queen of the Kites), and these photos are from this year's parade. Notice all the people wearing their Santiago Sacatepequez traje. It's easy to see that traje is very important to one's identity in Guatemalan villages.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mexican Paper Dolls

I found the cutest little Mexican paper dolls at a local shop. They are mini books, only 4 1/4" x 5 3/4". One is a traditional cut-out paper doll book, with eight costumes from around Mexico, and the other is a sticker book with four pages of clothing and accessories.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mural in Santiago Sacatepequez

This mural is painted on an upstairs wall in the museum in Santiago Sacatepequez. It depicts a 16th century battle between the Spanish conquistadors and indigenous Guatemalans. At the bottom it says: Memoria Historica y Cultural de Guatemala (Historical and Cultural Memory of Guatemala).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Santiago Sacatepequez

I went to Santiago Sacatepequez on Saturday for their Day of the Dead giant kite festival (more on that later!) and looked around their local museum. Inside they have a model of a woman at a backstrap loom, weaving her huipil. The huipil from Santiago is an abstract design in bright red, with splashes of dark blue, light purple, orange, and green also woven in.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Aguacatan Huipiles

Aguacatan is a village in the Guatemalan department of Huehuetenango. The huipiles there are made using white, satiny, commercial cloth and a variety of colorful commercial ribbons. The collars and other adornments are hand-embroidered. It's a very light and fresh look!

I don't have any huipiles from Aguatacan, but I want to get one before I leave Guatemala. I did seek out some of the ribbons used on them, and I found some yesterday in the mercado. I don't know what I'm going to make with them yet.

The first photo shows the ribbons I bought yesterday. Click on other the photos below to see more photos of each huipil.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Santa Maria de Jesus

Santa Maria de Jesus is a village not far from Antigua, Guatemala, and it has two basic designs for huipiles. The hand-woven versions (like the one on the left) feature a diamond-shaped pattern, usually in hot pink, purple, red, and green. The machine-embroidered versions (like the one on the right) are on commercial cloth and feature brightly colored birds and flowers.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Meet Jose, Ceramic Artist

A few weeks ago I visited the Antigua workshop of Jose, the man who makes many of the ceramic beads I sell. He is the 6th generation of ceramic artists on his mother's side! His mother made ceramics and his father was a carpenter. Jose has been in the ceramics business for 28 years and has four children, but none of them plan to continue in the family business; he says they have gone to college and begun different careers. He has two employees in his workshop, and there are several other people who have their own workshops upon whom he can call if a big order comes in. He also has an employee who works at the store where he sells his items.

Some of the ceramic items Jose makes are made using molds, others are completely hand-formed, and others are a combination. He showed me the process of making a little cherub: He started with the wet clay (purchased in the nearby city of Chimaltenango), pressed it into molds to make the wings and head, and hand-formed the body, arms, and legs. Small clay items dry in the sun for about an hour before being put in the kiln.

Jose has an electric kiln but usually uses the wood kiln because of high energy costs. After being fired, the pieces are painted with acrylics and most are then glazed.

Jose's workshop is at his home and was much larger 10 or 15 years ago, when he had 16 employees. Business, which is highly dependent on the tourist trade, has slowed in recent years. He does, however, have three customers in the US who purchase large quantities for their retail stores. He makes lovely, very detailed nativity scenes for export.

Jose says his most popular beads are miniature Guatemalan masks, devils, and monkeys. He does custom orders based off of photos or sketches, if a customer needs a large quantity of a particular design!