The Beginning. El Comienzo. / by Samantha Katehis

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The Antigua Project is the third collaboration organised by Rebecca Welz, of Pratt student designers and local artisans working together to fabricate products using sustainable, traditional materials and craft techniques. The previous projects areThe Guyana Project, from Guyana, South America and The Malinalco Project, from Malinalco, Mexico.

The Antigua Project is made up of 12 designers who are paired with artisans of their choice in a sequence that will combine to produce designs. The working relationship is a collaboration utilizing the contemporary sensibilities of the New York designers and the ancient traditional expertise of weavers, woodcarvers, carpenters, leatherworkers, a shoemaker, a welder and a silversmith. We are working intensively for 2 weeks in a studio in the Museo Casa del Tejido Antiguo,the textile museum in Antigua, Guatemala.

The environmentalist Paul Hawken writes in his book Blessed Unrest that there are many movements afoot on a small scale that are brewing all over the world which point to global change. He breaks the movements down into three major areas: environmental sustainability, social justice and preservation of indigenous people. As we become more and more mechanized and production and services are increasingly outsourced, these collaborative projects are a tribute to the makers who work with their hands and the traditions of culture that have been passed down for generations.

We are honoured to collaborate with the artisans and learn from them.