December 2007 Issue Three


There was such a positive response to the last issue that within a week I had enough ideas for another. In addition to Maya and Guatemala topics, I am interested in things we can do to help prevent global warming. Marty Bischoff Garfinkle sent us one small way to help and I have included it below.

If you have comments or suggestions for future articles send them to:

Joseph Johnston

In This Issue:

  Endangered Threads documentaries
San Juan Artists exhibit at Rutgers
Arte Maya Calendar
Paula Nicho Cumes—Kaqchikel woman artist
Samuel Cumes Pop, a different Maya artist
Catalogue Choice 

Endangered Threads Documentaries

Kathleen Vitale has been the major force behind Endangered Threads Documentaries. They have just come out with their second documentary about the Maya weavers of Guatemala A Century of Color: Maya Weaving & Textiles. This and their first documentary, Maya Weavers of Guatemala, are available on DVD for $20 and $15 respectively at their website.

San Juan Artists exhibit at Rutgers University

Richard Morgan, who lives in Panajachel, has been promoting the work of the Tz'tutuhil Maya artists for many years now. In September, he mounted an exhibition of the paintings of the artists of San Juan la Laguna at Rutgers University. Artist Felipe Ujpan accompanied Richard Morgan for the exhibition. I am late getting this notice out, but from now on I will try to inform you of all US exhibitions of Maya artists from Guatemala. If you hear of any, please let me know so I can pass it on.

Arte Maya 2008 Calendar

The 2008 Arte Maya calendar in both English and Spanish is still available. It includes photographs and biographies of the twelve Maya artists whose paintings appear in the calendar. The Maya Glyphs are included for each day of the year along with a brief description of how the Maya calendar works. The calendar includes four women artists—two Tz'utuhil and two Kaqchikel women.

Most calendars are designed, printed and distributed by calendar companies. Designing and printing the calendar are the interesting part for me, however, the distribution is difficult. I don’t have the connections that publishers do for distribution. I do well in the San Francisco Bay Area, but not in other areas such as Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Florida. I am sure this calendar would sell well in some of those areas If you know of any groups or stores with a Guatemala or Maya connection, I would appreciate contact information.

Paula Nicho Cumes—Kaqchikel woman artist.

Paintings by Paula Nicho Cumes have been in the Arte Maya calendar now for the last three years. Paula is the most talented and famous of the Maya women artists. This week I have posted several of her paintings on the Arte Maya website for sale. Paula was worried about her themes being copied, so up until now she had been reluctant to have her work on the internet. All of her themes deal with being Maya, being a woman, or both. Her painting Mas Allá del Universo (Beyond the Universe), a detail of which is shown at the right, is the December painting for the 2008 calendar.

Samuel Cumes Pop—a different Maya vision

I knew Samuel Cumes Pop for many years before he began to paint. For many Guatemalans, the time of violence during the early 1980s was extremely disturbing. Samuel began to paint to help overcome these experiences. Unlike many of the Maya artists, Samuel has an awareness of the art world outside of Guatemala. The surrealist style of his paintings are not like any other Tz’utuhil artist. when he began he used paint but has now switched to pastels. This a medium seems more suited to his way of drawing. His paintings touch on all topics—war, violence, poverty, sex, and ecology. You can see some of Samuel Cumes Pop’s paintings on his page in the Archives section of the Arte Maya website.

Catalogue Choice

Marty Bischoff Garfinkle sent this suggestion that will save thousands of trees. Catalogue Choice, a free and easy service on the Internet, will remove you from the mailing lists of unwanted catalogues. I get my shipping supplies from Uline, but they send me a huge catalogue ten times a year. I only need one catalogue every couple of years. They also have an on-line site where I can see everything in their catalogue. It took me five minutes to sign up with Catalogue Choice and one minute to remove my name from Uline’s list.

Marty Bischoff lived for many years in San Pedro. She was always working on projects to help improve things for the local residents. A number of years ago she moved back to Houston Texas, her home previous to moving to Guatemala. Pedrano women still sell Marty’s delicious banana bread to tourists on the streets and paths of San Pedro. Marty was the first person to start humanely dealing with the dog overpopulation in San Pedro. She brought a US veterinarian to San Pedro to neuter dogs for free. Her work has been taken over by Barbara who inexpensively offers pet medicines and neutering to the community.


These links are both from the current and previous issues.

Arte Maya Links:

Endangered Threads Documentaries

Casa Rosario Spanish School

Stoves for women in San Pablo la Laguna: Friends of Australia and New Zealand

Catalogue Choice