CLOTHING, ACCESSORIES AND HOME DECOR. HAND MADE. FAIR TRADE.
The traditions of textile production are disappearing in indigenous cultures around the world. It is becoming increasing difficult for artists to continue selling handmade textiles when their work can be duplicated in factories far away. This trend is hugely detrimental to the communities that still make them by hand. It is also detriment to the textile factory workers who, in order for us to "buy cheap", frequently work in appalling conditions, and have few, if any, rights to organize for better treatment.
"Cloth holds the residue of breath from our pores and retains the essence of life within its structure."
Gerry Craig, Imagination & Sensation
MamaQuilla Textiles is a Canadian-based business with a mission to celebrate the art of handmade cloth.
MamaQuilla is committed to fair trade principles and Community Economic Development (CED). Fair trade is a system of trade that uses the markets to promote social justice. CED is a community-based and community-directed process that explicitly combines social and economic development and is directed towards fostering the economic, social, ecological and cultural well-being of communities and regions.
Nelson Perez & Weaving the World
The workshop of Master Weaver Nelson Perez is located in Teotitlán del Valle, in the Oaxaca region of southern Mexico. Rich with ethnic diversity, fascinating history and beautiful climate, it has for centuries been one of the most important regions for artisan wool rug weaving in this part of the world.
Nelson Perez and his family have converted the family workshop into a space where the pre-Hispanic textile traditions of their Zapotec culture are honoured, reflecting a three generation tradition of craftsmanship for which the Perez family is well known. Using traditional methods for spinning, dyeing and weaving, the Perez workshop preserves many of the design features passed down to them through countless generations, incorporating Zapotec beliefs about the natural world into their unique textiles.
For several years, Nelson Perez and his family have partnered with Weaving the World. Owner Palmira Serra, born and raised in Mexico, now lives in Cheltenham, England. As well as having had her education in textiles and design in Mexico City, she has a lifelong love of the indigenous weaving styles of this beautiful region of her country.
Together, Palmira and Nelson provide a unique opportunity for travelers to experience weaving as carried out by the local Zapotec indigenous people: going into the local mountains to gather the flowers, plants and mosses used in natural dyeing, boiling them in huge outdoor vats to get the colours needed, and working on a hand loom to create their own weaving, with a member of the Perez family available at every point to give one-on-one instruction.
The Zapotec people are very proud of their traditions and are delighted that people want to come and learn. This also means that what was in danger of being lost not so many years ago has become a sustainable industry that allows the people of Teotitlán del Valle to carry on their age old traditions.