RISD Students Take Guatemala Project To The New York Gift Fair

You may remember the series of posts we did earlier this year about a group of students from Rhode Island School of Design who went on a field trip to Guatemala to do a project with local artisans living around Lake Atitlan. The Bridging Cultures Through Design project has continued to develop since their return to Providence. Chelsea Green has been keeping us up to date with their progress and we are excited to say that the RISD students will be showing their work at the New York Gift Fair this weekend, August 12th - 16th, where they will be introducing the products that have resulted from this collaboration to the market. Their partners for this show include Aid to Artisans, Agexpront, RISD Industrial Design Department, La Casa, and La Casa de los Gigantes. Chelsea writes below about the work they've been doing in the last few months and how they've been preparing for the Big Apple! "Since our last post the BCTD group has been very hard at work. Since returning to Providence there has been a lot of follow up work for us all. In addition, as a group of students, we decided that it would be really valuable to have a show here at Rhode Island School of Design to tell the story of our collaboration. On April 26th our show opened at RISD in the Industrial Design Department Gallery. The concept behind the curation was to divide the space into separate areas. The first area was devoted to our studio process work, showing how we worked here in Providence and then later in our temporary studios in Guatemala. The second area was devoted to the market, showing how the market inspired our work throughout the process. Within the central gallery space we constructed a faux tree, replicating the palm tree that we all learned how to weave on at the Cojoyla Association for Mayan Women Weavers in Santiago Atitlan. We set up our backstrap looms on this faux tree, inviting gallery visitors to watch us weave as well as learn for themselves.

The show was a great success, with curious visitors from throughout the RISD community, Aid to Artisans, and even Veronica Grajeda Castillo, the Consulate of Guatemala for Rhode Island. It was wonderful for all of us to share our individual experiences from this project as well as continue conversations about the future opportunities that exist for designers and design students to engage in such collaborations."

We hope the New York Gift Fair is a great experience for the RISD students and that many people will be inspired by this project. We'll be hearing more from Chelsea next week as she reports back from the show. In the meantime please do go along to say hello, look at their work and show your support for this excellent sustainable design project.

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