Cristina wears the LPC embroidery top while she interviews María Magdalena González (Mary), 53 years old. Mary is head of the workshop & artisan group leader with 25 years of experience as an embroidery artisan.
Oaxaca is a national and international cultural reference for various handmade embroidery techniques. Embroideries are vibrant and artistic expressions used to decorate clothing for unique activities and events, as well as the everyday attire of people in the communities.
The facade of the workshop “Taller blusas bordadas de Oaxaca” ("Oaxaca Embroidered Blouse Workshop”)
Artisan, Erika and her daughter, Renata. Erika is Maria´s sister-in-law, with 15 years of experience as an embroidery artisan
Embroidery is more than just an art form for Oaxaca, especially for communities where embroidery is a significant economic activity for their people. Like any art, learning it starts at an early age and is embraced willingly as part of the identity that defines the artisans who practice it, communicating their history through the shapes and colors of everything they embroider.
Ariadna González is María's sister and has been working as an embroidery artisan for 30 years.
Different communities in Oaxaca specialize in embroidery, each with its unique characteristics that identify the style and traditions of its people. Although designs vary from region to region, all are handmade embroideries dating back to pre-Hispanic times when agave or maguey thorns were used as needles.
One of the most complex embroidery named: “Hazme si puedes” in English can be understood as literally as: “Do me if you can“ Do it if you can” and not all artisans can make it.
Some of the different embroideries include:
- Mazatecos Embroideries: Known for their use of colors, primarily red, black, and blue, as well as floral and bird patterns, and rabbits.
- Chinantecos Embroideries: Carry symbols of life and death, are characterized by their vibrant colors and use of geometric figures.
- Mixe Embroideries: Distinguished by their unique flower shapes with spikes, some representing the maguey, and the use of specific colors like red and black.
- Zapotecos embroideries from San Antonino Castillo Velasco: One of the most renowned in Mexico and the world. This town in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, belonging to the Ocotlán district, is named after the patron bishop of the town, José María Castillo Velasco. Founded in 1694, this Zapoteco- origin town is the birthplace of one of the embroideries that La Peony has embraced for its upcoming collections. In each collection, they work on innovative designs in collaboration with embroiderers, helping to preserve beautiful traditions.
Cristina interviews María. She explains how the family workshop began, which now consists of 20 artisans. It's not only a tradition but also a significant economic activity in the community. The workshop started as a family endeavor, with collaboration from all the women in her family, including her sister, sister-in-law, and it all began with the grandmother.
Written by: Alma Cristina Gómez Macfarland