From June through August of 2012, Emma Gallagher and Jonathon Engels will be leading a textile project in Aldea El Hato in Guatemala.  Participants will learn to crochet several different types of flowers, how to attach them to create eclectic fabrics (pieces of art), and will create public displays, or “yarnbombings”, around the village.  At the end, there will be an art show in which residents of the village, patrons of a nearby lodge, and supporters from the city of Antigua can come to view the yarnbombers’ artwork.

As with all UPP projects, GUPP or The El Hato Project seeks to connect two or more communities, creating a dialogue via blogging and collaborating on an art project.  This connection is a crucial component as it creates cross-cultural awareness, concern, and identity.   Currently, GUPP has potential partner groups in southern California, Louisiana, and Vancouver, but other interested parties are welcomed (cordially so, we might add) to join and can contact Emma at

Crochet is a Mayan tradition that has become particularly popular since the growth of the tourist industry in Guatemala.  Combining Emma’s crochet obsession and this tradition inspired the idea of using crochet as the art medium in The El Hato project. Furthermore, the village of El Hato’s main industry is flower farming, so the subject of the pieces (the fabric of flora) also ties closely with their roots.  Creatively, the artists will be able to combine, arrange, and display their creations in their own confident way.  Teaching the children to crochet will not only be fun, but, perhaps, they will also gain a new hobby and learn a marketable skill that could be used in the future as a source of income.

Too fund the project (and hopefully more to come), Emma and Jonathon have created the Buy a Ball movement in which supporters from around the world can contribute money for yarn, crochet hooks, and other supplies.  Donations can be made through PayPal via this link, but you should also visit the Guatemala Unfinished Picture Project (GUPP) or Buy a Ball event’s page if you have a Facebook account.

Additionally, both Jonathon’s and Emma’s mothers will be coming from the US and England, respectively, to assist with the project’s final push in August, so they are collecting material donations to refurbish El Hato’s budding artists.  Sheelagh, Emma’s mother, has also instigated Buy a Ball at her work in England, hoping to rally support from colleagues.  However, due to postage and/or transport, material donations must be limited.  If you are interested in collecting or already have excess yarn and hooks, contact Emma ( for details on where to send them in Guatemala.

All funding and supplies will go to this project or upcoming projects of a similar nature, i.e. none of the monetary donations will be used for administrative costs or travel expenses.  As well, the hope is that supplies will be plentiful enough to send each participant home with their own crochet hook and some yarn so that they can continue to create.  With the success of the project, Emma and Jonathon will try to assure that the children have continued access to the materials they need to keep expressing themselves.



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  2. I LOVE those crocheted Lost and Found nekaccles. Wondering if you can post a picture with someone modeling one?”666″ Hmmm is right!Again, your talent humbles me.xxox

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