Priscilla Kibbee

I love to travel all over the globe shopping for textiles to add to my wearable art. I have taught quilting to school children in Nepal, seminole patchwork to seamstresses in Thailand, and jackets and embellishment to quilters in Turkey where I also served as a judge at 2 of their International Quilt Shows. I have created garments for 5 Fairfield and Bernina Fashion Shows and teach classes on embellishment and wearable art. Lately I have been leaning more toward making art quilts.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Panajachel and Santiago Atitlan Guatemala

Back in Panajachel on Fridays there is a local huipil market in front of the Fire Department on the road to Solola. There are usually at least half a dozen women there with their huipils and weavings spread out on the concrete.
Usually I find the huipils to be either too expensive, or too faded after being out in the sun for too many sales. But every once in awhile I find something interesting. This trip I bought a black background huipil in a design I had never seen before.

And, of course, after all my hard work it was time for a banana split.

As I was sitting in the ice cream shop at the top of Santander, the main street I noticed three locals going by weighted down with bundles of wood they obviously were taking to sell somewhere. Now...they had to have walked down from the surrounding hills somewhere with those heavy loads.

The next day I took the boat to Santiago Atitlan, the town where they make my favorite bird huipils.

The town is becoming more and more crowded with shops selling to tourists.

A new church.

The women are busy working on their embroidery in front of their shop.

The town also has some great wood carvers and painters.

Our friend Robert whom we have known for several years.

This poodle was accompanying two young boys on the trip back to Panajachel.

This made me very nervous. The two young boys (who apparently didn't have an adult with them) were hanging out the bow of the boat. One slip and they would be under the boat toward the propeller.

Mayan Famalies Project:
For some time I have been looking for a local Guatemalan group which focuses on quilting or sewing to do some volunteer work with. Over the years we have routinely taken suitcases full of school supplies for the local schools, usually in Santiago Atitlan but I really would have preferred something textile oriented. I found a quilting group in Antigua but since I don't go there very often anymore that wasn't going to work. Three days before I left on this trip I discovered a wonderful group in Panajachel, where I usually spend a week every year. I contacted them and found they could use fabric in their projects. I took a suitcase full for them and plan to fill two for them next year when I have more time to organize.
They have a number of projects going...including buying stoves (to cut down the use of wood and subsequently stripping the forests), semana santa baskets to provide food, and arranging sponsorship for students in several local schools.

The web page is

The one which I was most interested in was the Panajachel Sewing Project- 94 adult female students have completed the Mayan Families 3 month Sewing Skills Course. Many of these students have developed home based businesses with their new skills. I found while talking with one of the directors on my trip that each student receives their sewing machine when they complete the course so they need machines as well.

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