Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tactile Pleasures

I continue this week highlighting some of the tactile pleasures of Antigua created in stone, tile, wood, fiber--and food!

Certain people are more tuned into textures than most of us--a potter knows clay is ready to mold by how it feels. As a knitter I take the texture of yarns into account when planning garments for fit and fashion. Clothing designers use the nubs, slubs, and weaves of fabric to achieve specific design goals. (As an example, I recently saw a stunning garment that was made of peacock feathers!  Click on the link) Architects choose building materials for their practical and aesthetic effects. 

The focus of my trip was to revisit the ruins of the church of Our Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza, built from 1731-1736. Because it's stripped of all art, the focus is on the shape and style of the buildings. And, because much of it collapsed during the earthquake in July, 1773, the inner workings of the walls and ceiling are exposed. Some of the old plaster on the walls remains, but the under-layer of bricks and mortar is exposed. You can see the contrast between smooth walls and bricks laid to create arches. Look higher, and the ribs of the pillars remind me of why architects call them ribs in the first place. 

A plain-fronted church built in 1457 in Ciudad Vieja  is enhanced by the beautifully curved and carved wooden doors. 

Created 500 years later, there is an abundance of modern art in the park at Santa Domingo el cerro. Clown figures dance across a curved wall of their events pavilion, and toss three dimensional rings. The colors and images are pleasing and the small pieces of stone catch and reflect the light in a way that gives movement to the art.

And since we're next door to the restaurant, el tenedor del cerro, I might as well talk about the sensual pleasure of lunch.  I sat at a small table on the deck. My dining companion was a volcano. The food was delicious and again, texture played a part. I bit into the pesto-marinated shrimp pizza, and pulled the slice back to take a closer look. Firm toasted pine nuts added a new dimension to my palate. 


Last of all, I want to highlight the textiles again. Look at the handmade hats in the photo and imagine how  it would feel to stroke the finely braided brim.And the embroidery on the huipil, the traditional blouse, mimics the shape of the flower petals. 

These lovely and finely crafted pieces are available at Mayan Boutique, Esperanza Hernández /Edgar Martin Perez, 3rd street #5 "D" Antigua Guatemala, esperanz-arte@hotmail.com

Look around you today as you're out and about. Pay attention to the textures that add interest and depth to the spaces and objects around you. 

Were you a child with a silky blanket? What appeals to your sense of touch: the feel of corduroy? smooth melted chocolate?  crunch in your peanut butter? popping plastic packing bubbles?  

Enjoy them, and share!


  1. Oh, my, I love peacocks but that coat sure looks scratchy. Seems like you'd get poked, even through the lining.
    I love reading your blog. I'd be excited it you'd check out mine http://sherryjcarter.blogspot.com/

  2. The coat may be scratchy, but wasn't it sumptuous! When I read your blog (congratulations, looks like you just got started) I remembered you from BRMCWC. I'm not going this year all I have to show for the last year of writing is the blog.

    What about you?


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