[singlepic id=4200 w=320 h=240 float=right]So we have two housekeepers at our house in San Miguel. Aura (our-or-a) and Belkis (bell-keez) are two absolutely wonderful women from San Miguel and the town next door, Juangil. By day these women keep the house and cook delicious Panamanian meals for us, but by night, as I recently discovered, these women are mastering tapete, better known as crocheting to English speakers.
All it took was one question to Aura (“do you have those things you make here with you?”) and out she pulls her beautiful tapetes for me to drool over. Beautiful threads stitched in a circular pattern to create a spider web of masterful design and elegance. Each small tapete takes about 3-5 days to complete, she informed me, with a selling price of 5.00 Balboas (which is $5.00). Really now?!? If that shocker of a steal isn’t good enough, Aura elaborated that she could do pretty much anything one wanted in tapete- runners, dresses, shirts, even pillow covers. Belkis, on the other hand, has just started her tapete skills but I can tell already that she’s got the figures and the eyes for some beautiful masterpieces.
It’s funny what you find when you scratch away the surface, especially when it comes to discovering this secret world of artisans. Mirian, the local elementary school librarian is also a widely skilled artisan with endless beaded jewelry, balcones (miniature scenes that hang on the wall), plant holders, paper, purses, doll clothes and more. Even our oh-so tough car mechanic, Chapo, in San Miguel has a hidden side… as a dance teacher! Like uncovered treasures, these characters have sides to them only revealed with a little digging. Sure enough, they’re willing to share their talents and art with anyone who cares to notice. So stay tuned, because I’ll be compiling a little database of artisans in the San Miguel community for everyone back home to discover for themselves and to possibly even acquire their very own globally local art. Don’t take my word for it- the pictures speak for themselves.[singlepic id=4201 w=320 h=240 float=left]