The Art of the Handbag

The Art of the Handbag

Using brightly colored native textiles as her media, Guatemalan artist Diana de Solares is introducing a line of fine, handmade handbags, each of which is unique.
“You won’t see anything like this in the market,” de Solares says. “This is a high-end product—it is totally different.”

In a range of sizes, the handbags incorporate geometric and floral patterns, as well as birds and butterflies, all in an array of bright colors and distinctive designs. It can take a day or a week for de Solares and her seamstress to make just one. The products go on sale this month at her new shop, Púrpura y Té, at 1a avenida norte #12 in La Antigua (inside Casa de los Milagros).

An artist for more than 12 years, de Solares also plans an exhibition in May at her Galería Arte La Fábrica, 15 calle 7-41, zone 10, in Guatemala City, featuring three-dimensional works incorporating shapes made of organic, wood-like fibers painted in acrylics.

Whether in the form of exquisite handbags or works on canvas, de Solares’ creations feature native materials.

“The world already contains too much stuff, and I believe that new and interesting and beautiful objects can be created out of already existing materials that have been used or worn—I’m speaking of reusing, recreating what already exists to make a new thing.
“I believe that Guatemala is especially fertile for producing things where tradition and ancient cultures meet and overlap with the interests of the contemporary world,” de Solares says. “It is this encounter between tradition and present-day life that I’m interested in.”

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