Monthly Archives: July 2022

Pop-up Expoventa, Teotitlan del Valle, Saturday, July 30

Starts 11 am to 4 pm take MEXICO 190 to Teotitlan del valle enter village turn left at Francisco I Madero Continue to end at basketball court. Slight left down and across the dry creek. on other side bear right at the fork. Go to 4th house on left. Prolongacion Francisco I Madero #80. Workshop Taller Tenido a Mano and Norma’s casita.

Featuring best quality back-strap loomed clothing, many with natural dyes Meet weavers and artisans. Buy direct from makers. Curated by Eric Chavez Santiago.

La Malinche: Mexico’s Mestizo Origins

For those who don’t know, La Malinche was the young woman-child and slave sold to Hernan Cortes on the Maya coast of Mexico in 1521. She was traded by the Chontal Maya along with 19 other 12-year olds. Her narrative is complex and formidable. An exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum examines her role as survivor, interpretor, and companion. In viewing the exhibit and knowing of her story, I continue to ask myself, Why was she so maligned?

In contemporary history, as interpreted by Mexican writer/poet Octavio Paz in his 1950 essay Sons of Maliinche, he defined La Malinche as a traitor responsible for the Spanish conquest of indigenous Mexico. This is an interpretation that has stuck and is only beginning to be questioned and debunked.

Mestizaje, the mixing of Spanish and indigenous, is the origin story of modern Mexico. It factored prominently during the Mexican Revolution when political leaders were trying to establish a new identity for the re-imagined nation, one based on honoring indigenous roots. And, yet, La Malinche continues to be denigrated as the ultimate betrayal. To be known as a Malinchistas is a derogatory slur applied to those who favor anything foreign.

To understand Mexico is to understand the context of the Spanish conquest and Aztec (Mexica) dominance. The Aztecs controlled the territory from Tenochtitlan to Nicaragua for over 150 years. Heavy tributes were collected from indigenous tribal groups and the Aztecs were hated by many. La Malinche recruited indigenous allies, some of which included the Zapotecs, the Tlaxcalans, and those from Texcoco (surrounding Tenochtitlan) who aligned with the Spanish to defeat the Aztecs. With this backdrop, La Malinche emerges as the negotiator, interpretor (she learned Spanish and knew Nahuatl, language of the Aztecs), facilitator.

Her images are depicted in the codices of the time — the painted pictorials that told the story of the Spanish expedition in Mexico. She wears a red and white huipil, her hair is tied in braids around her crown (sign of a married woman). She sits with Cortes and tribal royalty to broker the alliances that would destroy the Aztecs. Why is she depicted as evil, as the traitor?

it wasn’t until the Chicano movement of the 1970’s that La Malinche began to be reinterpreted as heroine, representing the sacrifices that women made for family and community. Women have culturally had no voice, are controlled and dominated. This is evidenced by machismo, and we see even more of behavior now in the United States with the reversal of Roe v. Wade and the dominance of conservative, repressive values that have migrated into our legal system.

There is no better time to talk about La Malinche as symbol of survival and intelligence. It is also the time to talk about missing and murdered indigenous women in Mexico and in Navtive American tribes of the United States. Domestic violence against women rose signficantly during the pandemic.

In modern Oaxaca, La Malinche survives in the Dance of the Feather. Her duality as an indigenous girl and a convert to Catholicism (legitimate) and baptized Doña Marina is depicted by two distinct individuals, as if one could be separated from the other. Dance as historical interpretation exists in New Mexico, too, with the Dance of the Matachines, depicting the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs. La Malinche plays a prominent role here, too. As a resident of Oaxaca and New Mexico, I find this overlap fascinating. The exhibition concludes with contemporary photographs of New Mexico indigenous villages celebrating the Dance of the Matachines.

As I exited the Albuquerque Museum, I could help but make these observations and a list:

  • Men determining the fate of women
  • Women without choices
  • Women without voices
  • Women without rights
  • Women as slaves and chattel
  • Women who are powerless
  • Women as evil, bearing the Garden of Eden legacy
  • Women as temptress, sexual object
  • Women objectified in fashion, film, photography

I found this exhibition to be provocative and gave me pause to think about the fate of La Malinche and all women who are enslaved in traditional roles with few choices and little chance for escape. This is why this exhibition is so important. I hope it comes to a city near you.

Fireworks Sale: 9 Huipiles from San Juan Colorado, Oaxaca

Happy July 4th everyone! Here in Taos, New Mexico, the town has lifted the fireworks ban and the celebrations are popping with live music everywhere. I hope you are celebrating what it means to live in a democracy and how we can best protect our personal rights that were heretofore guaranteed by the federal government and past Supreme Court rulings.

Oops! one more for sale! and it’s gorgeous!

SOLD #10 We can send you this one immediately. Measures 32” wide x 36” long. dyed with indigo, wild marigold and mahogany. $255 plus $14 mailing

I leave for Oaxaca on July 20 and return on August 5 for our Summer Mountain Textile Tour. Eager to be returning there. If you make a huipil purchase, I will bring it back with me to mail to you after August 5.

We are offering Brisaida’s weavings at below retail. Why? To encourage women weavers like her to find direct markets for their work. Remote Oaxaca villages like San Juan Colorado on the Oaxaca coast where Brisaida lives, was born and raised, have little access to selling directly to collectors. They often rely on middlemen to come and buy up their work below fair market rate to resell in Oaxaca City. Their husbands work subsistence farming with no chance to sell, raising crops solely to feed the family. The only cash income for the family might be from what the women are able to make and sell or from remittances. Brisaida reached out to me to ask me to help her and I said YES.

These are garments that you can wear with pride that are completely handwoven on the back-strap loom and dyed with natural materials. They are lightweight and gauzy, perfect for the heat. with your purchase, you support indigenous weavers who live in remote areas where tourists rarely travel. You are supporting sustainable entrepreneurism. As soon as a piece sells, I send funds directly to Brisaida. She is among the finest weavers of this village and a member of Las Sanjuaneras cooperative.

How to Buy: Tell me the item you want by number. Send me your mailing address. Tell me how you want to pay. Choose one of three ways.

You can pay one of three ways: 1) with a Zelle transfer and no service fee; 2) with Venmo or 3) with PayPal. If you choose either #2 or #3, we add on a 3% service fee which is their charge to us, and we will send a Request for Funds to your email address. The request will include the cost of the garment + $14 mailing. If you want more than one piece, I’m happy to combine mailing. Tell me which payment method you prefer and I’ll send you more information. Buy now and I’ll bring your garment back with me on August 5 when I return from Oaxaca to New Mexico.

A Note from Brisaida

My name is Brisaida Garcia Quiroz, and I’m 34 years old. I learned to weave on the back strap loom at age 10 and I am very proud to do this work. I am happy and love the process of creating the cloth and using natural dyes on cotton that I often hand spin myself from pre-Hispanic native Oaxaca cotton. I am an indigenous woman and with the weaving I do, I know I can help my children get ahead. I am thankful that you are able to help me.

SOLD. Blusa #1: Indigo, with supplementary weft (called brocado) with natural white cotton and cotton dyed with mahogany bark. Size is 27″ long x 29″ wide. $235 plus mailing.

SOLD. Blusa #2: Indigo with supplementary weft dyed with cochineal, mahogany, wild marigold, plus natural white cotton. 29″ long x 30″ wide. $235 plus mailing.

SOLD. Blusa #3: Dyed with indigo and iron oxide. 28″ wide x 28″ long. $200 plus mailing.

SOLD. Blusa #4: Dyed with indigo and Brazil wood, and supplementary weft dyed with natural white cotton, mahogany, wild marigold and indigo. 28″ long x 29″ wide. $235 plus mailing.

SOLD. Blusa #5: Dyed with iron oxide and indigo, with supplementary weft dyed with indigo and native white cotton. 29″ long x 26″ wide. $235 plus mailing.

SOLD. Huipil #6: Raw indigo is uncooked leaves which are rubbed on the cotton to get this soft green tone. This huipil is embellished with a supplementary weft dyed with the shell of the cacao (chocolate) bean and native white cotton. 43″ long x 32″ wide. $298 plus mailing.

SOLD Huipil #7: Dyed with wild marigold and the supplementary weft is dyed with hand-spun white cotton and guapinol. 37″ long x 31 inches wide. $298 plus mailing. Liliana

SOLD. Huipil #8: Mixed colors with natural dyes of indigo, iron oxide and wild marigold. 37″ long x 27″ wide. $247 plus mailing.

SOLD Huipil #9: Dyed with mahogany, with the brocade supplementary weft threads dyed with natural white cotton and wild marigold. 39″ long x 29″ wide. $298 plus mailing.
NOTE: Please measure for fit; width is across the front of the garment, side seam to side seam. All sales final. Thank you.