Tag Archives: Chiapas textiles

Sophisticated San Cristobal de Las Casas: A Changing Scene

It’s different this year in San Cristobal de Las Casas. There are more upscale shops and sophisticated clothing designs using indigenous textiles. Just meandering the three andadors — cobblestone walking streets here — I see remarkable differences.

Sophisticated handwoven pillow covers at Sna Jolobil Cooperative

There are more visitors coming who are interested in textiles and the Maya culture. There is a greater influence from designers and the styles are definitely geared to a more upscale buyer. Some of the jackets and tops encorporate small elements of the Maya counting system but are magnified into stunning graphic designs.

Ex Convent Santo Domingo, now Museo Mundo Maya

It seems as if there is a new energy in San Cristobal. Yes, there are still young European back-packers who pass through on their way from Guatemala to Mexico, populating the busy new pox (posh) bars after 6 p.m.

Frogs, feathered serpents and diamonds representing the center of the universe

However, there is innovation in the air, the kind I haven’t seen in the five years I’ve been bringing small groups of textile travelers here.

Perhaps this is because young weaver and designer Alberto Lopez Gomez from Magdalenas Aldama made a big buzz this year at New York Fashion Week. We are going to his cooperative this Saturday morning.

Today we are off to the traditional weekly market in Tenejapa.

Intricate embroidery work on a huipil of birds and flowers

Sheri Brautigam and I have committed to repeating this popular and always sold-out Chiapas Textile Study Tour in 2021. Our dates are February 23 to March 3. Send us a Registration Form if you are interested in participating. The itinerary will be mostly the same. Only the dates will change.

El Camino de Los Altos, A.C., Chiapas-French Connection

The non-profit association El Camino de Los Altos was established in Mexico as a result of a twelve-year collaboration between Mayan weavers in Chiapas and the French non-profit group El Camino, made up of eight professional designers all working voluntarily together to create a high quality collection.

El Camino de Los Altos recently held an exhibit and sale at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca, and I was fortunate enough to be in town that weekend at the start of the opening day.  The group is composed of 150 indigenous weavers from five different municipalities in Los Altos de Chiapas.  The aim of the partnership is to improve the living conditions of the weavers and their families, to contribute to the long-term survival of an outstanding ancestral art, and to provide the women weavers, who have been learning textile design for twelve years, the opportunity to grow professionally both as weavers and designers.

To accomplish these goals, the association has established a new training center where the weavers meet and exchange ideas with designers, artists, and others interested in promoting the collection.  The designs combine bold, contemporary colors and motifs with ancient techniques and iconography.  the materials used are of the highest quality cotton.  The members of El Camino de Los Altos are also learning to manage and administer the association and market their products internationally.  The association continues to seek financial support in order to promote and market the beautiful textiles.

The collection focuses on interior design, bed linens and accessories, in additional to shawls, table coverings, scarves, handbags and shoulder bags, pillow covers, and bed spreads.  I loved the small, intricately hand-embroidered baby bibs that were on display alongside adult sized garments.

Most of the textiles are woven on pre-Hispanic backstrap looms using mercerized cotton yearn or sheep wool and dyed with natural dyes.  The association includes the follow municipalities:  Chamula, Larrainzar, Oxchuc, Pantelho, and Zinacantan.

Contact Information:

elcaminodelosaltos@gmail.com

Cerrada Prolongacion Peje de Oro No. 3-A

Barrio de Cuxtitali C.P. 29230

San Cirstobal de Las Casas, Chiapas

Tel: (967) 631 69 44