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 a 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 Community Economic Development (CED) principles. 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.
FEATURED ARTISAN: the Espatulas Rosates cooperative
Las Locos Munecas de Barra - The Crazy Dolls of Barra - are created by the Espatulas Rosates, a women’s cooperative in the village of Barra de Potosi, Mexico, to improve the financial lives of their families and spread laughter and joy.
Espatulas Rosates members are a family group that includes the mother Minda, the sisters Araceli (Chely), Areli, Lily, Ruby and the sister in law, Antonia. In addition to this core group, other community women often show up to help. Chely is the cooperative’s informal coordinator. She also operates Paradise Bird Tours - a bird watching guide business in the beautiful lagoon and estuary in her community.
Most of the men in the village of Barra de Potosi are fishermen and the fishing is not what it used to be. The women’s co-op idea began when a seasonal resident of the area brought arts and crafts ideas to the women of Barra as a way to supplement their families’ income.
In 2014, with assistance from supporters, they developed an idea based on rag dolls that could be made from the materials readily available in the area and that spoke of the colour, charm and vibrancy of the village and culture. All the fabrics are purchased in the local fabric shops. They hand dye the fabric for the bodies, machine sew and stuff them; everything else is sewn by hand. Each member contributes time and skills and the cooperative works together on cutting, sewing and embellishing these unique creations. The hand embroidered facial features and expressions give each doll her unique personality.
While the initial intent was to sell the dolls to tourists who visited the community, Chely now liaises with supporters of the group’s aims to distribute the dolls to Canada, the United States and beyond. The members of Espatulas Rosatas have learned so many skills with this project; quality control, sense of design, sales skills, book keeping and of course the wonderful feeling of making their own money and contributing to their families.