Happy New Year!
Now, you're probably thinking, "Uh, it's past Valentine's, he's a little behind." And, in fact, a few friends have been wondering why they haven't heard from me in a while.... Well, in Guatemala, in the Highlands where the Mayan people have more than one calendar for keeping time, we've just started the new year in the 365-day agricultural calendar, the Haab. This is the year of the deer (Kej), a symbol of personal power. To many Mesoamerican peoples, the deer was the most powerful animal in the forest, and Kej days have always been known as days when one may claim one’s personal power. This should be a great year to move forward with the dreams we hold in our hearts--something that has never rung truer than now....
All this being said, maybe the real reason you haven't heard from me in a while is that in November, upon my return to Guatemala from the U.S., I decided to make a shift in my home base and set up my studio in Antigua Guatemala, the colonial capital of Guatemala, and the cultural crossroads of the country. As anyone who's moved knows, its a stressful proposition at best. I've been busy settling in to my new digs, but in my case, its been incredibly smooth and easy, and has, in many ways, felt enchanted or blessed by angels.
The home where I've landed in Antigua is not one unknown to me. It is, in fact, the very same home where, some 15 years ago on my second day in Guatemala, I knocked on the door and met Martita Diaz, with her white head of hair, big glasses, wide grin, and loving embrace. When I walked in the door that day, Martita embraced me so tightly, and filled me with stories of wonder and mystery that expanded my curiosity and love for Guatemala and the Mayan people that persist to this day.
Life blessed me with Martita, and her garden, her husband, Oscar, and daughter, Marta, who's become one of my very closest friends--my older sister, or aunt, we're still not sure which; we've been through lots of tough spots together. All of my comings and goings to and from the Lake have been through this house. I've been helping to make the flower carpets in the street outside for the Semana Santa (Easter) processions for most of the last 15 years, a tradition that Martita engaged me in that very first day I met her, inviting me to come make the carpets. Oscar treated me like his own grandchild, always inviting me into his silversmithing and inventors' workshop and showing me the wondrous products of his mind and creativity.
I've always felt like part of the family here at Marta's house. So I guess its no surprise I ended up making my own studio out of Oscar's workshop. Here are a few photos: (click on image to to show expanded view)
This is an exciting place for me to live. Though my personal space is quite small, the expansive feeling of the changing light in the garden, and the wide patio spaces in which I have to work, all conspire to make this the best possible work situation. I'm living with other people, not just Marta, but the ladies who take care of the house, and the visitors we have in the three-room guest house here. I've thoroughly enjoyed helping spruce up the guest rooms and, in fact, my dear friend Kathy its here now from Chicago for a week. My friend Annetta was here for my birthday, and I'm hopeful that other friends and family will find Antigua a less remote destination than San Pedro La Laguna, where I still have my house, rented out when I'm not there to enjoy it!
Here are some snapshots of the guest rooms and garden patio set for breakfast.
(click on image to to show expanded view)
Come and Visit!!!
Please contact me if you are interested in coming to Guatemala--this is a safe and easy, and beautiful, place to do it!! We have the modern conveniences you're used to, as well as many, comforts you may never have enjoyed! Look for me to be offering mosaic workshops in Antigua, where you can learn mosaic arts with me and fill your self with creative inspiration among the volcano views, smiling faces, stunning countryside and rich culture of Guatemala.