Mixing philanthropy and creativity was my goal after receiving a Frieda Fehrenbacher Women’s Leadership Fellowship. I spent a summer in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala. Being a fashion design major and textile minor, I channeled my passion for philanthropy and Guatemalan textiles into a fundraiser for Guatemalan education.
Before my trip, I raised money for an education scholarship that I could award to a Guatemalan student. I also designed and created a swimwear line, Corazon Swimwear, which incorporated Guatemalan textile motifs, which I marketed and sold on the streets of Dallas and Austin, TX.
The idea for my fellowship experience grew from a chance meeting with Grace Gardener, a fair-trade vendor in Philadelphia. Grace first traveled to Guatemala in the 1970s, fell in love with the culture and people of the region of Lake Atitlan and later built a home in the village of Santa Cruz.
In August 2011, I traveled with Grace and stayed at her home. I then traveled to the Atitlan region where I studied the traditional Mayan practice of textile weaving using natural dyes. I also visited a weaver’s cooperative and awarded a student the scholarship funds I had raised.
This trip was the best experience of my life. It gave me a bigger picture to look at, and opened my eyes to new business opportunities. I am very grateful for the fellowship opportunities I had at Moore. From now on, I will strive even more to create environmentally and socially conscious art.