This week has been a full one. Driving to artisan communities, collecting inventory, quality checking, paying for inventory, dropping off some new designs, driving to the next artisan community. Repeat. And let me just say, everything looks amazing! The quality exceeded my expectations, the colors are vibrant, the intricate traditional designs still blow me away.
Maybe the most fun part for me this week was having my husband, Blake, along. Originally, he had to come because I needed his manual driving skills and big muscles to get inventory from Point A to Point B. But I had forgotten that, because of his work here with a cooperative of coffee farmers in Antigua, this was the first time he had revisited the artisans since we first met them last February. Last February, when we were a couple of newlyweds wandering the streets of obscure Guatemalan towns with backpacks, cameras and fedoras. Last February, when we stumbled upon these groups, drooled over their work (okay, I was the one drooling) and asked if they were open to bringing their Mayan designs to a modern market with a little designer like me.
And now, 14 months later, he and I return to their shops, homes and offices with greetings in kisses, laughter, and some pretty solid Spanglish. To gather a curated collection of indigo blues, bright aquas and timeless neutrals that originated from beautiful local designs. He returned to a place that was once a tiny, random shop in a market to and relationships and partnership in the global marketplace.
Having Blake with me reminded me how much had happened in just one year. So often it feels like such slow going and small work. But much has changed already through these design collaborations. It overwhelms me with immense gratitude.
The Ara Collective shop won’t be online until June so here’s a sneak peak into what I’ve been picking up in Guatemala. (More to come soon from Mexico!)