12 Aug Guatemala, The Heart Of The Mayan World-By Patti Carpenter
Patti Carpenter, award winning Creative Director in globally sourced home accents, personal accessories and gifts, finds inspiration when traveling. Also an expert on international sourcing, Patti fills us in on her most recent adventure in Guatemala.
Guatemala, the heart of the Mayan World,
holds a special place in mine.
As we began our descent, I had to admit that my heart was pounding and my pulse was racing. I was excited to be back! You see, Guatemala is one of my favorite places on earth, occupying a very dear spot in my heart, and having traveled to 54 countries around the globe, that’s saying a lot. I must admit that it kinda snuck up on me and captured me on that very first trip back in 2003.
In some years, through various consultations and projects, including my own home textile collection, I would travel to the country 3 times a year and remain for 3 weeks at a time.
Back then, I’d come to design, develop and produce with indigenous artisans all around the country, learning their historical techniques, identifying cultural art forms, combing local markets and producing incredible hand-made and embroidered textiles, hand-hewn wood, delicate beading, candles, ceramics and glass. Now, I hadn’t been back in 5 years! How could that have happened???
This time I was here to work, and to play a bit as well. I gave a seminar on design and development training and capacity building for AGEXPORT, the association for Guatemalan exporters. We had an extraordinary group of artisans and young innovators, all committed to continuing the production and promotion of hand made products.
Additionally, and a bit more special, I worked with my first design intern, Emma Gutierrez.
Having met when she was still attending Landivar Design University, she’s now an accomplished interior and lighting designer, trying her hand at fashion.
With work completed, my inspirational time was spent in Antigua, the first capital of Guatemala, and a UNESCO world heritage site in the central highlands of the country. Famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture and incredible ruins of colonial churches, I am awestruck by the color, culture and community each time I visit.
An early Sunday morning drive up into the mountains beyond Antigua takes you to the tiny puebla of Santa Maria de Jesus and provides my favorite pastime, a visit to a local “Mercado”. The sights, sounds and smells never cease to stimulate.
I am privileged to stay at the homes of dear friends when I go. My first few days allowed for a stay at the exceptionally well-designed home of the famed local interior designer, Eric Ledoit and his partner Bobby Santacruz. Their home is a piece of paradise on earth, with warm textures and textiles and miles of style.
My final weekend allowed for a few days stay with “Las Tres Gracias”, Siggy, Sherry, and Mykell, three extraordinary and creative women, who work tirelessly around the world providing possibility to people on the margins and making a difference everywhere they go. These wonderfully powerful women show me what it means to be the change! Their garden is a soulful sanctuary and a refreshing refuge.
I don’t know exactly when I’ll return, but rest assured, I won’t let another 5 years pass. This place is truly the “Heart of the Mayan World, and remains near and dear to mine. Hasta Luego!!
Patti Carpenter, principal of carpenter + company, is an award winning Creative Director in globally sourced home accents, personal accessories and gifts with extensive experience in product design and development, merchandising, and color + trend forecasting. As a Micro-Enterprise specialist with U.S. presidential recognition for domestic and international expertise in artisan development, small producer and entrepreneur training, and economic development, she has been successful in international sourcing and creating innovative products for her eponymous home textiles brand, carpenter + company, sold internationally. Additionally, Carpenter has designed, sourced and created strong private label collections that add revenue and enhance the image of brands including Bloomingdales, Sferra, Neiman Marcus, Crate & Barrel, The Phillips Collection, ABC Carpet and Home, Donna Karan Urban Zen and Ralph Lauren. She has traveled and worked in fifty-four countries and has spoken and written on Color + Trend and Design around the globe. As an international expert in Color + Trend forecasting, Patti is now a Global Trend Ambassador for the Americas Mart in Atlanta and the face of Color + Trend for Maison & Objet in America.