Vanessa and I met over a year ago. I met her at a conference where she was selling garments, and we just got along. I bombarded her with many questions about textiles and she politely and enthusiastically responded to my strange interrogation. I didn't know if she was going to remember me when I contacted her a few days ago, but she did.
We met at the market in San Antonio Aguas Calientes. She was more skinny and maybe she looked more tired, but when she saw me she gave me a gentle smile, and we hugged as we had done last year. I told her about our project, at first she was a little doubtful, but then she suggested if we met her sisters and mother they could explain to us the process of a huipil.
She walked with us and showed us the way to her house. We could see the big volcanoes and we felt the warmth of the sun rays in our skin.
Vanessa’s family live in a brick and lamina house. They are not a wealthy family but their house was so enchanting and well-taken care of, that I thought it was lovely. I was a little worried for the girls because I knew that for them it was a type of house they did not use to. But in my life, I have seen few poor houses that looked as pretty as hers. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think poor is a synonym of neglect and ugly, but most poor houses are not like Vanessa's. And I was happy to see that hers was so different.
Vanessa´s mother and sisters are weavers. I have always had deep respect for weavers, how they transform threats into beautiful huipiles. They explained to Alayna, Allegra, Mattie and me how they make the garments, and it's amazing how much patience and creativity they must have to finish one piece. I knew Mattie and Allegra were happy with the rich colors and textures they were photographing because as designers it was gonna look really nice.
When we return to the bus I couldn't stop smiling because as our first interview and story, I knew we had a good first approach to what a Guatemalan family and culture really is.