Oaxaca at a glance
I did not expect Oaxaca to impact me as much as it has. At first glance it is a state of vibrancy that represents the true rich Mexican culture. What quickly caught my attention was the vast array of colours that surrounded me wherever I went. The contrasting colours in the woven textiles and the walls covered in peeling paint that line the cobblestone streets make me feel alive. It constantly feels like that moment when you look up into the sky and see a rainbow. You stop to appreciate the beauty that is above you and can’t help but smile in awe.
Moacir and I have made friends in each village. In Santo Tomas Jalieza we visited the Gaapi women’s weaving cooperative. Here 50 women come together to weave and showcase their town’s talents. It was so beautiful to see the women coming together to support each other. Betty and Humberta showed us around the mud brick cooperative where their creations were displayed beautifully and with so much pride.
Whilst walking through Teotitlan del Valle we walked into Artesenias Xi - Guia. Here Artemia and Felix have created a homely store that displays their woven rugs, ponchos, clothing and carved musical instruments. Felix and Artemia greeted us with so much warmth, we spent over an hour in their store learning about their life. Whilst in Teotitlan we also made our way to Casa Martinez, Don Roman's family owned rug weaving business. We met Don Roman in the city and he invited us to visit his workshop. Here his son Alejandro kindly showed us how they prepare the naturally dyed wool to then be woven on a loom to create incredible rugs. Yet again, we spent hours talking to Alejandro and exchanged words about our cultures. This hospitaly is also expressed greatly in the city. In Oaxaca city we met the artisans of La Casa de las Artesenias where they shared their vision and values of their empowering cooperative.
The people of Oaxaca are truly inspirational. As our relationships grow we can’t wait to share with you more about each individual and cooperative that we have come across.
Also in Our Journal
Today is International Women's Day. At Cielo, we partner with women’s weaving and embroidery cooperatives throughout Mexico and Guatemala. Groups that were formed by women for women, so that they can have the same economic opportunities as their fathers, brothers, husbands and men in their communities. In places where women were not encouraged to receive an education these women are creating work for themselves, receiving a wage through years of learned artisan techniques, preserving their culture and now contributing to their families financial future.