While rattan always strikes me as a decorative accent best showcased somewhere down south, I find I long for it when the weather even hints (as it does here in New England, in fits and starts) of becoming warmer. It feels right that furnishings should get a little lighter, allow a warm breeze to pass through them – even if they are indoors.
Now if you have begun to conjure images of the Golden Girls in their Florida condo, let me stop you right there. This isn’t bamboo and peach palm fronds that I’m talking about. Rattan can be sophisticated, elegant even, and I am here to prove it.
Rattan is derived from the Maylay – Rotan, which consists of an old world species of climbing palms, which in turn, belong to a sub-family known as Calamoldizae, which is Greek for reed. Now we are getting somewhere, so stick with me here. Those reeds are woven into cords, which are wrapped around a wire frame, allowing the decorative object or piece of furniture to take shape. It’s an art, and oh boy, are there ever some designers that elevate the form.
Mario Lopez Torrez is perhaps my favorite for his cheeky use of monkey’s. A Mexican Artist known for his mid-century creations – though it is believed he still produces pieces today in his village – Ihuatizo. If a visual examination of the intricacies of his designs don’t convince you of his status, perhaps the price points at which his pieces sell will.
City or seaside, north or south, I have a hankering for rattan.
I often feel like an arrow. While I am clear on the target I’m intent on hitting, it requires a pulling back, a pause, a refocused effort – a collection, a reflection, a question. Each time I sell, and prepare to buy again, the arrow quivers just a little less in its trajectory. This period of retreat is important to me, it keeps me grounded, it allows me to feel what I am doing, and prepares me to return, fortified for battle.
I closed on Halloween, rolled my suitcase and a bag down 8 blocks to my sister’s house and left the following morning for Mexico. San Pancho is a quiet little town on the West Coast, not far from Puerto Vallarta. I smile when I think of that city because it reminds me of The Love Boat, Captain Stubing who I actually waited on at Thompson’s Clam Bar in my hometown of Harwich, MA, in the nineties. I would watch The Love Boat and the Fantasy Island with Mrs. McLaughlin, while I was babysitting on Saturday night’s. The Love Boat always visited Puerto Vallarta. If Puerto V is the big city, San Pancho is the outback. Tucked away in the shadow of Sayulita whose popularity has grown since I visited 10 years ago. Tucked into a bay, it became famous for its surfing, and art community, and the undeniable hipness of its inhabitants and visitors. San P is its humble, quiet sister whose beauties and mysteries unfold with the passing days, and her softly spoken “buenos dias”.
Life here is simple. You need not guess at a person’s motivation. It’s beauty is juxtaposed with its grittiness. The dirt roads, and cobblestones, that are as likely to have a horse and donkey meandering through them as a honking car or motor bike. Absent are the rules and regulations that we organize our lives and priorities so carefully around in the States. Construction sites spill out into the street with nary a barricade or warning in site. It seems to say – “live free or die” without saying it at all, which really is a good lesson, regardless of where you live. Pride, and family, and preparation, and gratitude are in abundance. I think of my old yoga coach who would tell me to “try easy”. I push so hard, so forcefully. San Pancho allows you to pull back.
Here I have retreated. I have risen, and pushed, and pealed back, and exposed all of my flaws and insecurities to a people that will not judge me, because judgement is not part of their lexicon. I have lived under a GMO Free Zone for just a short time and the elegance, simplicity and vitality of the food has restored me.
I rose early, practiced hard, explored my artistic side, experienced the beauty of Gisella and Calista’s carefully curated hotel – rustic and refined, thoughtfully designed, suitably pancho. More and more, square foot, by square foot, I gain an appreciation for the artistic talent of others – even when the style is not my own. Hotel Ciele Rojo is exceptionally well executed, but those words do it an injustice – it’s designed with heart, and you feel the love when you are here.