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Celebrating the incredible artisan mothers this Mother's Day!

Ok, so I personally feel that Mother's Day is a bit Hallmark-y, but we can give it some real significance and mark the occasion in our own way.   Our way therefore is to celebrate the mothers and role models that are the female artisans and weavers in the indigenous communities across Mexico, Guatemala, South America and beyond.  

In the Mayan, Mixtec and Otomi ethnic groups across Mexico (to name a few), the mother really is the back-bone of the family.  She awakes extremely early (5am, sometimes earlier) to prepare the Pozol or Atole (traditional hot drinks) and other foods to nourish their male family members as they work the land; then they will most often accompany them to participate in the hard graft, and return home to continue cooking the dinner from scratch.  The work doesn't end there, they clean the house, nurture the children and finally dedicate time to their looms–  somewhat a respite for the women. 

Rosa María Hernández (L) y María Hernández (R), mother and daughter– Rosa rolls up her loom a couple of times a week and goes up to her mother's house to weave and spend quality time.  Weavers of our Magdalena fabric.

Weaving is a time for quiet contemplation, or sometimes a group gossip session.  Most significantly, the backstrap loom is a vocation that has a deeper meaner, one that connects a long lineage of generations, mother's teach their daughters from an early age (between 8 and 10) and the tradition continues, rarely is the chain broken!  It can be tough-love, but eventually, both skilled, mother and daughter treat weaving time as quality time together.  Also, the connection of female reproduction to the cycles of 'mother nature' is predominant in ancient textile iconography, still woven today.  Considering all of this, it is surprising that indigenous women are still treated as inferior in their communities.  But this is changing, and can continue to change through textile-commerce.  Once the men in the family see the success and financial reward that the women can have selling their textiles, the power dynamics shift, in a positive way!  It has even seen a more collaborative approach from the men towards the women.  So it is important that we continue to value and celebrate the female artisan talent!

Xunca and Yoli Hernández and mother Magdalena, the leaders of the cooperative Mujeres Sembrando la Vida.  Magdalena founded the cooperative 30 years ago and has inspired her daughters to be community leaders.
Angela del Carmen Gómez de la Torre, mother, weaver, weaving mentor and the rock in her family.  Weaver of our Carmen and Paraíso Night Set fabric.