The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market runs from Friday night to Sunday afternoon the second weekend of July each year. Festivities start days in advance with galleries and retail shops all over town featuring artisan trunk shows from various parts of the world. (Mark your 2017 calendar for July 14, 15, 16)
Barbara, with her husband Robin, run the Hotel Santa Fe in Puerto Escondido, and are long-time residents of both Santa Fe and Oaxaca. The coffee farm they manage is not far from the Chatino villages near the famed pilgrimage site of Juquila.
Chatino people have close language and cultural ties to the Zapotec villages of the Oaxaca valley. Their mountain region is rich in natural resources and many work on the organic coffee farms that are an economic mainstay. About 45,000 people speak Chatino. Hundreds of indigenous languages and dialects are still spoken in Oaxaca, which make it culturally rich and diverse. This is reflected in the textiles!
Barbara has personal relationships with the women embroiderers of the region and what she brought to show was the real deal!
The blouses are densely embroidered with crocheted trim. The older pieces are fashioned with cotton threads and the needlework is very fine. Newer pieces reflect changing times and tastes, and include polyester yarns that often have shiny, gold, silver and colored tinsel thread.
We see this trend in other parts of Mexico, too, including the more traditional villages of Chiapas where conservative women love to wear flash!
The shoulder bag — called a morral — is hand-woven and hand-tied (like macrame), and equally as stunning.
A follow-up note from Barbara Cleaver about the bag:
The Chatino bags have a proper name in Spanish, which is "arganita." Morral is also correct, in the sense that all Mexican bags are generically called that. Also, the knotted part ( where they stop weaving and start knotting the woven part), is then often embroidered. In Karen Elwell's photo, the birds in the knotting are embroidered over the knotting, rather than being created by the knotting.
To enquire about purchasing any of Barbara Cleaver’s Chatino clothing and accessories, please contact her at Mexantique@aol.com
Karen Elwell, whose Flickr site documents Oaxaca textiles, says that the flowers and birds border (above) are machine stitched and the parrots and flowers (below) are hand-knotted from the warp threads of the woven bags. (See Barbara Cleaver’s more exact explanation above.)
Barbara has many examples of these. I was just too busy looking to take good photos!