Happy new year to all! I’m sure many of you are, like me, excited for a fresh new start. Personally I am eager to get started on my resolutions, one of which is maintaining this little blog. For a long time I have thought of how I could share with people the amazing journey that has been my Guatemalan adventure; an adventure I am still on today. This amazing country has enriched my life in so many ways, especially in regards to the incredible textile culture I am so privileged to be a part of. So, in honor of the beginning of the year, of this blog, and of this new stage of Loom Tree, I figured I would start by introducing myself, and how I came to be Carmencita, the textile designer.
My full name is Carmen Giuliani della Rosa, and I have been sewing since I was a child. My mother owned a fashion atelier in downtown Modena (Italy). My sisters and I often would help out, and so we learned all the tricks of the trade. When I was in my twenties I studied design, and I began a small fashion design studio with my best friend. While we never made it very far, it taught me a lot, but most importantly it earned me enough to embrace my other passion for travel.
That is how I ended up in Central America where I met my future husband, and encountered the city I would learn to call home: Antigua Guatemala. When we first settled in Antigua in 1993 we didn’t have much, yet we decided to start our little family here. He was a writer, and while he worked from home, and looked after our son, I set out to begin another business. Inspired by the incredible weaving heritage of Guatemala I started designing clothes again.
However, I eventually found myself fascinated by the qualities of the handwoven fabrics that I saw so many of here in Guatemala; in particular the incredible intricacy achieved by the Mayan hand woven techniques. So little by little my small business morphed into home goods; pillows, bedspreads, napkins and place-mats. I was working with my first weaver back then, Doña Paulina. Despite coming from polar opposite worlds we formed a kinship; two women braving a man’s world, bound by nothing else than a shared passion for textiles. Together we pushed the boundaries of the loom. I would think up designs inspired by both the traditional Mayan motifs, and the modern designs of my homeland. By 1996 I registered my business, Arbol del Telar (Loom Tree).
It has been nearly 30 years since I first began working with textiles here in Guatemala, and while my business has grown and evolved, at the root of it all is still that strong passion that has always been a part of me. Therefore, dear friends, know that every time you hold one of my fabrics you are holding a labor of love. These textiles are not just a product someone has made to make money; they are a testament to the merger of two worlds; they are a vehicle through which heritage is preserved. As the world changes all around us, and the future of this ancient art-form comes into question, I am proud to say that, in my own little way, I have contributed to keeping this invaluable heritage alive.
Thank you for reading! And on behalf of myself and my entire team I wish you the best possible beginning to a fruitful 2022!