Artisan Organization: Carmen Fuentes
Country: Central America
"I am Carmen Fuentes Brenes, an enterprising and optimistic person. I enjoy spending time with my family and taking care of my garden. I was born in Turrialba, Costa Rica in 1956. I always liked drawing and painting. I lived with my family in a place near an old railway station where there were gardens, and I went there with my sister to collect flowers. Their color and aroma caught my attention. My mother liked to sew, and one of my sisters liked to paint just like me. Despite having difficult times due to economic situations, I have been able to overcome them with the support of my family.
"I began to dedicate myself to the art world after working for several years as a clerk in environmental protection institution. While there I began to see photos of places in nature and the efforts to conserve the environment. I dedicated myself to learning different painting techniques and their applications. I really like to express my love for nature through art. Then I started making crafts, to bring this message through smaller, easier-to-buy pieces. I made my first work with vegetable dyes on paper; then I gave it to a relative and she still has it. I became interested in this art because that way I can transmit a message of conservation of the environment. I like to paint, and I love what I do.
"I have had my own business for 10 years. I dream of seeing my company grow and creating job opportunities. I learned to do these works first by reading and researching. Then I entered institutions that teach drawing and painting, as well as art galleries. I learned different techniques and have also shared my knowledge in my community. I had to save to buy materials and receive training. I have received two honorable mentions in painting contests.
"The materials I use are easy to find. The cotton fabric is manufactured in the country; and the brushes, stationery and other supplies I buy locally. The sewn garments I prepare personally, and sometimes I use recycled materials. My art contributes by carrying a message about the conservation of the environment. The paints I use are water-based, and water is used carefully.
"The most beautiful part of my job is the challenge of designing and then creating. I am inspired by nature and everything related to coffee culture. My art is related to Costa Rican flora, the variety of species and the coffee tradition. I want to take a message of our culture, joy and color from my country to different parts of the world.
"Despite the fact that it has been difficult to establish myself as a craftswoman due to the economy and technological innovation, I am grateful that you have given me the opportunity to live this beautiful experience. All my products are made with a lot of dedication and love. I hope you enjoy them." "