So, How Was Your Day?
Avocado Toast. Coffee.
Ham and bean salad. Water
Benne wafers. Pimento cheese. Wine.
Wake up around 7 to my cat Marsha sleeping on my neck like a scarf. No yoga today, I just got a shipment in from Morocco that needs to be unpacked and repacked and shipped to some awesome shops! I realize I have no coffee so I drive to Earth Fare and pick up a bag of Intelligentsia Single Origin Rwanda beans. I love African coffees the most; they’re cleaner tasting with some subtle citrus and tartness. I get home, make a cup of coffee, eat some avocado toast and commute 15 feet to my office on the other side of the house. Sit down at my desk and decide which Pandora station is good for unpacking/packing boxes. I’m deciding between a Latino station and Malian (African) station but in the end go with Shakira. A few songs in realize there is way too much Pit Bull going on and change it to the Ali Farka Toure station. Perfect. I get down to the business of reading and answering emails for the next hour or so. I email with my producer’s in Guatemala to check on status of production and samples for a fun new project. Mañana they tell me. Mañana we will have an answer, mañana we will ship you your samples. Mañana, mañana, mañana, mañana. Fine, that’ll do I guess. Eventually get to unpacking raffia shoes from Morocco, tagging, and repackaging to send out to some of my favorite shops!
Get a little bored/ADD and look for plane tickets for 30-45 minutes. Need to go back to Guatemala in the next few months as well as schedule a fun trip for my birthday at the end of May. Switch up the Pandora to Sean Kingston radio. I pretend I’m on a beach dancing for a few minutes then realize that NO, that’s not the case! I’m actually working on a production spreadsheet. A girl can dream, right? I get in my C-A-R (I have a very generic car and thought it fitting to call it a C-A-R) and run some errands around downtown Charleston; post office, dry cleaners, grocery store all while listening to the Breeders and Jets to Brazil. I have crossed many musical genres today. Around 2:30 I arrive at Susan’s house. Susan is a woman I help out a few days a week with her vintage and antique textile business. She has an incredible collection of global textiles, is extremely well traveled, and an overall inspiration to be around. She is having the Textile Society of America over tonight for cocktails and a tour of her gorgeous home. Guests arrive around 5:30 and we commiserate over textiles, traveling, economic development, fashion, and crafts. My kind of evening!
I get home around 8:30 after snacking on pimento cheese, pickled okra, benne wafers, and white wine at Susan’s so I’m not very hungry. Hang out with Marsha (my cat) for a bit. She’s deaf, albino, and precious. Sit down at my desk with a glass of red wine and answer a few important emails and revise a purchase order to send to Guatemala. Looking forward to New Girl I sit on the couch and realize it’s a rerun. Sad. Finish watching This is 40, laugh a lot, and then hit the bed around 11.
Three Last Things…
1. What’s up with that blanket? It’s so good. Where is it from?
It’s a Fulani blanket I found in Mali. It’s my absolute favorite textile that I own! The Fulani are a nomadic tribe found all along the Sahel region of West Africa. They are traditionally cattle herders and known for wearing amazing hats and giant gold earrings.
2. In 2008, you quit your job to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity (and later this trip became your inspiration for Proud Mary). What gave you the courage to take this risk. Did people think you were crazy?
I thrive on change. Ever since studying abroad in college I have had some serious wanderlust. For a long time I thought this meant something was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I just settle down, why was I so antsy, why couldn’t I be fulfilled where I was? It’s taken me a while to realize this but nothing is or was wrong with me, it’s just how I am. So, picking up and going to South America was me doing me. There are a million different ways to “do” things and if you get that itch, you gotta scratch or it will drive you nuts! I don’t think people thought I was crazy, this was my 4th job in 4 years so seemed about right!
3. Since you travel to Guatemala so often, be our tour guide for a second and tell us the top three things we would need to eat, see, or do if we went tomorrow.
Skip Guatemala City and head to Antigua for a few days. Antigua is a beautiful colonial city about 30 minutes from the capital. It’s surrounded by volcanoes and coffee plantations, has some beautiful buildings, great shopping, and food. It’s quite touristy but that’s because it’s chocked full of charm. After Antigua, head up to Lake Atitlan. The lake is surrounded by cute little villages, each with a different vibe. I usually stay on the side of Panajachel because it’s close to some of my weavers. Panajachel is a funny little place with a lot of expats. If there go to Circus Bar, an Italian (I know sounds silly) restaurant owned by a German, gypsy expat. They have great live music. Take a day trip from the lake up to Chichicastenango on Thursday or Sunday for market day. The mostly indigenous Mayans bring their handcrafts and food from all over the country bi-weekly for this giant market. Bring lots of quetzales, bargaining skills, and stamina!
Harper lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her cat Marsha. She is the founder of Proud Mary, a line of modern home and personal accessories created by artisans from around the developing world. With a mission of “pride not pity”, her company’s goods are a celebration of the people and cultures that create them. proudmary.org