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Posts Tagged ‘expo-venta’

As I’ve mentioned before, the ubiquitous aprons (mandiles) worn by the Zapotec women of the valley of Oaxaca have been elevated to an art form.  Each village has developed their own unique style and none is more distinctive than those worn by the women of San Miguel del Valle.

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Their full-skirted pinafore style aprons, made from poly-cotton plaid fabric, are elaborately machine-embroidered with colorful flowers and birds.  Worn daily, they are the “uniform” of the women of the village beginning when they are little girls.  And, most women have a wardrobe full — one to match each dress.

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Thanks to microfinancing assistance from Fundación En Via, many of the women have developed profitable businesses selling these aprons and also have branched out to making tote bags and purses.  The Fundación recently held a 3-day expo-venta in Oaxaca city and guess what I came home with?

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I’m hoping to go on one of the Fundación microfinancing tours next month — to meet and learn from the women who benefit and to further contribute to this worthwhile endeavor.  Empowering women empowers communities!

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Without a doubt, blogging about living in Oaxaca has brought a myriad of fascinating, knowledgeable, and just plain fun people into my life.  Thus, after meeting through my blog a couple of years ago, Kalisa Wells and I finally met in person last week at a textile talk at the Oaxaca Lending Library.  Given that we both love textiles, we arranged to rendezvous a couple of days later at a Museo Textil de Oaxaca expo-venta.

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While I was acquainted with the work of most of the artisans from Oaxaca on display, I was unfamiliar with the weaving of Ahuirán, Michoacán.  Kalisa has a long history with traveling, living, and loving Mexico — including Michoacán.

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So, with great enthusiasm, she whisked me off to the booth of Purépecha weaver Cecelia Bautista Caballero and her daughters, Ángeles Rodriguez Bautista and Araceli Rodriguez Bautista — where Kalisa was greeted like a long lost sister and I was warmly welcomed.

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Among other innovations, Cecilia brought back the pre-Hispanic Purépecha tradition of using feathers in weaving.  Multiple layers of individual feathers are hand sewn into the fringe of many of her beautiful backstrap woven rebozos (shawls) — providing an ethereal elegance to these staples of women’s attire in Mexico.

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One of the daughters soon had us draped in these works of art, where we drew a crowd — some of whom also couldn’t resist being wrapped in the beauty of these exquisite pieces.  Meeting new people almost always leads to learning new things and experiencing culture in more personal ways.

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are in the rear view mirror,  December is upon us — only twenty-three more shopping days until Christmas — and the shopping frenzy in el norte continues.  Thanks, but no thanks, I say.   I prefer this…

Weaver from the Katyi Ya'a Taller Colectivo de Algodón Native (Collective workshop using native cottons)

Weaver from the Katyi Ya’a Taller Colectivo de Algodón Native (Collective workshop using native cottons)

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, I took leisurely stroll down to the 2-day expo-venta (exposition and sale), sponsored by the Museo Textil de Oaxaca and held in the tranquility of the Centro Cultural San Pablo patio.  After much oohing and ahhing and talking with many of the artisans, I headed up 5 de mayo to one of my favorite pocket courtyards and the shops tucked in along its garden path…

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5 de mayo #408 – home to tapetes (rugs) at the Fe y Lola gallery and Seasons of My Heart retail store, among other small shops.

I won’t reveal where or if I bought anything — I wouldn’t want to spoil any Christmas surprises!  What I will say is… I prefer strolling to rushing; personally meeting and paying the artisans for their work to handing over a credit card at an impersonal department store; and, perhaps most of all, experiencing the pride radiated by an item’s creator when I admire their work.

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