Each hand-crafted piece preserves the traces of a tradition that has been passed on from mother to daughter, from mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, from neighbor to neighbor. Among women, crafts are created in community.
The butterflies embodied in a textile from Chiapas, a flower painted on wooden carvings from Oaxaca, or the earth that lives in a clay pot from Puebla: each piece hand-crafted in Mexico has a life and soul of its own, and they are connected with nature.
These pieces contain stories of women who recognize the importance of their work as a means of generating income and supporting their families, but also as a way of expressing and preserving the traditions of their ancestors.
This is the way Rosa Pérez a group of other women in Los Altos de Chiapas live. Los Altos is a region in the southeast of Mexico, located between green mountains that take everyone’s breath away, far away from urbanization, but also far away from other sources of employment.
Traditionally, women learn the textile trade from each other. Although not all learn from childhood, mastering the technique provides great satisfaction at any age.
Living off the Land
In Los Reyes Metzontla, a community located about three hours south of the capital of Puebla, Pascuala Valderas and her family have lived off the land for generations. Like many other people in this town, she learned how to work with clay from her mother, and now she shares the art of creating vases, jugs, pots and other pieces of clay with her daughter and grandchildren.
At age 41, Verónica appreciates her job more than ever. It does not only give her the opportunity to make her community known, but it also allows her to earn her income without leaving home and getting away from her family.
“A lot of people do not do this kind of job anymore because it is very complicated, but for me, it is important to preserve it…it makes me feel proud because it is one hundred percent natural that has been preserved for many years.”