Tag Archives: shoulder bags

Chatino Textiles from Oaxaca at Santa Fe Trunk Show

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)

La Chatina! Vintage blouses. Photo from Barbara Cleaver.

La Chatina! Vintage blouses, embroidered + crocheted. Photo from Barbara Cleaver.

Barbara Cleaver brought a collection of vintage Chatino blouses to La Boheme clothing gallery on Canyon Road, and anyone with a connection to Oaxaca showed up to see what was in store.

Chatina blouse detail. Photo from Barbara Cleaver.

Cross-stitch Chatina blouse detail. Photo from Barbara Cleaver.

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!

Chatina woman wears extraordinary embroidered blouse. Photo from Barbara Cleaver.

Chatina woman wears extraordinary embroidered blouse. Photo from Barbara Cleaver.

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.

Fine example of Chatino bag from Barbara Cleaver

Fine example of Chatino bag from Barbara Cleaver

UPDATED INFORMATION

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.
Underside of knotted and embroidered Chatino bag, from Barbara Cleaver

Underside of knotted and embroidered Chatino bag, from Barbara Cleaver

To enquire about purchasing any of Barbara Cleaver’s Chatino clothing and accessories, please contact her at  Mexantique@aol.com

Chatino shoulder bag, called a morral. Photo by Karen Elwell.

Chatino shoulder bag, called a morral. Photo by Karen Elwell.

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!

Invitation to La Boheme trunk show, pre-Folk Art Market.

Invitation to La Boheme trunk show, pre-Folk Art Market.

You Can’t Make a Silk Purse Out of a Sow’s Ear

I’m not sure about that! Oaxaqueno artists are VERY creative. In Teotitlan del Valle and throughout the Oaxaca Valley master weavers produce extraordinary art pieces that are created from the mere fibers of sheep wool and cotton plants. Designs are intricately detailed, as you can see below. And, even the smallest piece can take hours to create. The detail of the shoulder bag (below left) is in the saltillo weaving style that employs 22 threads per inch. This piece is a combination of naturally dyed wool and silk weft on a cotton warp. Mendoza Purse, Teotitlan del Valle

Mendoza Purse, detail

The red piece below is produced on a backstrap loom in the village of Santo Tomas Jalieza, a village off the main road to Ocotlan. It is a must stop, even if you only have time to spend 30 minutes at the central market. Backstrap weaving is women’s work, something Zapotecs have been doing for over 6,000 years. Look at the fine detail of this all cotton shoulder/book bag. It is s very sturdy weave. Love birds and feathered dancers are common images. Look for pieces that are tightly woven using fine threads. They will cost more but endure longerSanto Tomas Jalieza Purse, backstrap loom.

These pieces are in my personal collection.

The bag on the right (above) is a fine tapestry weave created by Josefina Mendoza. I took the piece to Luis and Licha at Casa Santiago on Ave. Benito Juarez in Teotitlan and asked them to add a long leather strap and leather gusset. Their leather craftsmanship is exceptional.

The handbag shown below (left) is a very small over-the-shoulder mini-pouch made on a backstrap loom in Jalieza. It is a much finer “sister” to the one shown above left. You can see the detail of the weaving patterns … 3 designs to the row instead of 2 with a lot of intricacy. The bag with the geometric design next to it is 100% silk, and the center wavy row is embellished with silver threads … yes, real silver. I love these two really small bags … they are perfect for holding ID, coins, bills, and a credit card or two.

Small bag, 5\