The process of handmade silk is a process in which patience and perseverance are essential to achieve the desired results, and is often undervalued by the market. LPC in its new black label collection begins its collaboration with the group of artisans "Artesanos de Seda de la Sierra Norte de Oaxaca" in San Pedro Cajonos community, to bring a little piece of this wonderful art and support the preservation of this arduous work.
This group of artisans is a group that rescues silk, because a little more than 40 years ago, the profession of silk production was in the oblivion. Commonly these communities in the state of Oaxaca are dedicated to the production of handicrafts of various types: textiles, wood, pottery, among others, to the land and to a minor extent to other economic activities of commerce and service. Silk did not represent a viable income option, although it was loved, respected and valued by all the artisans who worked with it, silk was only produced and woven to create clothing for personal use and not for trade.
The father of Moisés Martínez, president of the group of artisans mentioned above, made the decision in 1990 to invite his family and nearby artisans interested in preserving this activity, to form a formal group and dedicate themselves 100% to the work in order to recover it and raise it to an economic activity that would be a real livelihood for several Zapotec families in the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca, At that time, he managed to unite more than 70 artisans who could raise around 20 thousand silkworms per person and thus achieve a higher production that would allow them to generate enough yarn to weave pieces for commercialization and not only for personal use. In addition, another great achievement was to instruct others to the weaving activity and not only to the growing of the silkworm, since it was necessary to increase the number of weavers to accelerate processes and finally to add efforts also for the process of the sale that commonly they make through the participation in events, exhibitions, touristic places or external distributors like LPC that support the silk artisan.
Today, Moises Martinez, 38 years old, president of this group in San Pedro Cajonos, his family and all the artisans who are now dedicated to this, are an example of perseverance in the art of handmade silk. From a very young age, boys and girls are instructed in this profession with the intention of giving new generations life options for their future, but above all to preserve this tradition that is part of the history and identity of several communities in the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca.
Moises began his journey in silk at the age of 12, specifically the laborious work of back strap loom weaving, which was taught by his maternal grandmother. Contrary to the custom of male artisans, who generally dedicate themselves to other parts of the process such as raising silkworms or growing their food, Moises is an excellent weaver and dyer of silk.
Like him, many artisans have taken up the path again, have continued and have joined year after year to this work.
Author Alma Cristina Gómez Macfarland.