The first time I arrived in Antigua Guatemala there seemed to be a lot of bells ringing throughout all the churches in Antigua. The reason behind all the bells it turns out was that the new Pope had just been elected in Rome and they were showing the white smoke coming out from the Vatican. They had just elected Pope Francis. That was on March 2014 during my first trip to Antigua where I had just begun my dream that is now La Casa del Algodón (House of Cotton), and right in the Cultural Center of La Azotea is where I first spoke with a woman by the name of Olga Reiche.
Olga Reiche. I was dying to meet Olga Reiche in person, the Guatemalan woman who is well-known for being submerged in the world and culture of textiles in Guatemala, a world that was so new to me with its natural dyes applied by hand by the best cotton workers in the world.
I arrived at her workshop, where there were women were weaving with a technique called “telar de pie” or “foot weaving” and where the woman were experimenting with all types of natural dyes, but she wasn’t to be found. They called this workshop the Mango House (La Casa del Mango), a curious name full of local tradition in Antigua.
Finally we were able to connect through a telephone call and we decided to meet somewhere where we could share a delicious meal, in the restaurant called Tartines. Olga spoke with me about her amazing pathway into the world of textiles, about the women of Guatemala and her love for backstrap weaving, and what is involved for the artisans emotionally when they start to weave using their backstrap loom…
She, Olga Reiche, shared with me many ideas, concepts, and information that eventually helped me to construct in my mind the beginnings for La Casa del Algodón (House of Cotton). Her love of design, for the elegance and tradition and culture surrounding the textiles of Guatemala, all of that shared over a beautiful and delicious meal. From that moment on, I knew for certain that Olga Reiche would become part of the product line and knowledge that is part of La Casa del Algodón today.
The most innovative of all the products offered at La Casa del Algodón (House of Cotton), 100% Guatemalan, come from Olga Reiche and her brand INDIGO. Table runners each individually hand-made with organic cotton and natural dyes, products that contain recycled plastic weavings, cushion covers, and cotton fabrics all which encompass the elegance and tradition of the culture that all textiles from Guatemala are steeped in and products that are true to the Guatemalan identity and history.