Turquoise pools of Semuc Champey

A Peace Corps volunteer had just completed a trail building project in the Semuc Champey Natural Monument and invited friends and donors to the opening, during my last semester teaching in Guatemala, 2006. It was a five-hour drive, and Sarah, our host, promised the opening ceremonies would wait until we arrived. We made good time,Continue reading “Turquoise pools of Semuc Champey”

Zona Viva

On my first few days in a new place, everything strikes me as fresh and fascinating, then becomes more familiar and taken for granted. So when I travel, I try to venture out early in my visit to immerse myself in the sights and sounds. There is something invigorating about strolling through streets and scenesContinue reading “Zona Viva”

Semana Santa

No one celebrates Easter the way Antigua, Guatemalans celebrate Semana Santa, Holy Week, with rituals that date back to old Spain. Magnificent, ephemeral festival art comes to life and is lovingly trampled. Along the streets, people cluster in groups around artists creating beautiful but fleeting works of art in the form of carpets on theContinue reading “Semana Santa”

Basket women of Chilascó

After weeks of torrential rain and mudslides, I joined a friend to visit artisans in a remote village, detouring around road cave-ins under reconstruction until, after a four-hour drive from Antigua, we reached the turn-off to Chilascó in the central Guatemala department of Baja Verapaz. There stood an old man with a worn backpack, hisContinue reading “Basket women of Chilascó”

Parramos & Pastores, bootmakers

Returning to Guatemala for a visit after living in other countries, I joined a Habitat for Humanity build in the pueblo of Parramos near Antigua. To be accepted by Habitat for a project, applicants had to meet certain requirements. They had to be a family rather than a group of individuals, own the land, andContinue reading “Parramos & Pastores, bootmakers”

Comalapa, Guatemala, town of artists

The most amazing sight in Comalapa is the mural along the cemetery walls. But it is also a town of artists with many painted walls and galleries of local arts depicting village scenes in bright colors. Many of the villages of Guatemala specialize in various arts and are peopled with artisans. I had come with some friendsContinue reading “Comalapa, Guatemala, town of artists”

Making Tortillas in Guatemala

Working with the editors at Ceramics Monthly to publish my article on the women potters (see previous post) was an interesting learning process. They were looking for a reporter style article and asked me questions which moved me in that direction, so I contacted friends in Guatemala for quotes and details. Usually, though, I writeContinue reading “Making Tortillas in Guatemala”

Women Potters of Guatemala

My article, “The Women Potters of Rural Guatemala,” based on a chapter from my book, appears in the October 2020 issue of Ceramics Monthly, the leading magazine for potters. I subscribed to CM for decades since my days as an art student and I’m honored to be included in their beautiful publication. As a travelerContinue reading “Women Potters of Guatemala”