Artist Profiles

Artist:

Desiree Schaeffer

Region:

Western Hemisphere

Country:

Guatemala

Organization:

Casa De Artes

Media/General:

Textiles

Year(s) Attended:

Santa Fe: 2018

About:

Guatemala is famous for its riotously hued textiles, which feature myriad colors in eye-dazzling arrangements. A single garment might include row upon row of multi-colored stripes, interspersed with diamonds, zig-zags, and raised, knotted embellishments, each in saturated tones; somehow, instead of clashing, it all works together.  

Desiree Schaeffer is a master artisan, who specializes in a range of traditional Guatemalan textiles, from pillows to traditional, loose-fitting blouses and other wearable items. Born and raised in the historic town of Antigua, Desiree comes from a family who placed an emphasis on creativity, with a specialty in woven textiles. Growing up in a town synonymous with diversity and creativity, she was exposed to art from an early age. One of Desiree’s specialties is huipiles, or heavily embroidered, breezily fitting blouses, which feature mantels bursting with flowers and leaves, or contain subtler, more geometric patterning.

Oftentimes, color-drenched textiles are used in a variety of ways throughout Guatemalan homes. One such example is a traditional type of table covering or tzute. Desiree’s are typically rendered in warm tones of crimson or burnt orange, with stripes in various colors providing additional complexity. Part of what makes Guatemalan textiles so recognizable is their radical individuality; no two will have the same coloration or design, simply because there is such a large range of potential combinations and patterns employed. This means each and every piece made by master artisans like Desiree Schaeffer is guaranteed to be truly unique—in other words, truly Guatemalan.