"I call myself a potter, a baker, a carpenter. Man has no style, man has no life except by the labor of his hands, I have always thought of my poetry as a handicraft, anti-literary because even dreams are born of our hands.” from "A Lady in Clay" essay in PASSIONS AND IMPRESSIONS. by Pablo Neruda
My own belief that making things by hand has far reaching importance has long inspired me to learn about, write books, and make art and photography about the arts and crafts of Guatemala. Arts and crafts not only have life sustaining role but promote community and help people to maintain cultural identity.
Two years have passed since my book Guardians of the Arts: Prints of Guatemalan Artists and Artisans/ Guardianes De Las Artes: grabados de artistas y artesanos de Guatemala appeared and for nearly twenty years, the coloring book for children, Artes y Artesanías Mayas de Guatemala for children (in Spanish and eight Mayan languages) has been printed and distributed free of charge to children. My recent book is an invitation to look anew at Maya arts. In Guatemala, where threats and violations against human rights and political activists are everyday and life is a struggle for many, consumerism and many forms of societal, economic and political challenges work against the continuation of arts and crafts as vital parts of peoples lives or of their proper appreciation. This forms the background as to why I did my new book Guardianes De Las Artes. Still my book has a modest aim, for it cannot effect changes needed in Guatemala. But but through my prints and text, I want to honor the artists and artisans, makers of items of beauty and of everyday utilitarian importance, while encouraging Guatemalans and others to support them. My blog update takes the form of a year by year sequential overview from 2016 to 2018 and covers aspects of what I have been doing relating to my new book and to continue the Mayan language/ Spanish coloring book project. It includes my 2016 trip to Guatemala, exhibits, lectures, and conferences I have attended. My 2018 update concludes with some words about the Pro Arte Maya project.
From time to time, you will notice a bit of overlap with what is presently on my website.