Mexican Artisans: The Best and the Hardest Part

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A Meeting With the Ladies of San Pablo Etla…

The people I know in the small villages down the back roads where we work in Oaxaca and Chiapas are truly the heart of Mexico…They are the dedicated, hard working families that have carried on the traditions of their ancestors: weaving, embroidering and farming with the same commitment that has existed for generations.

We meet artisans like Juana and Marta, Emiliano and Catalina passing through markets, poking our heads into open doorways and in our own pueblo of San Pablo Etla. In some cases it is the quality of work that turns our heads and draws us into relationships with the artisan, in other cases it is the story… Many of the women we work with are single mothers struggling to support their kids, unable to take jobs outside the home because they have no one to help them care for

The new “Mati” blouse, compliments of the ladies of San Pablo!

their children. In our pueblo, a rural village outside of the city of Oaxaca, the women we work with are committed to creating better lives for themselves and their children, despite the challenges of sometimes not having enough to eat or sufficient money to pay for their children’s needs.

The BEST part is to watch these amazing women in action. Cristina, Marta, Juana, Miriam and others have worked hard master to their craft and take great pride in what they do and in earning a real income. The transformation I have witnessed in these women over the last year is my inspiration.

The HARD part is the work has only begun. There are still stories of  hardship, of abuse and of desperation. But with their spark of hope, determination, and their newly perfected skills, I believe anything is possible. The women have a dream of a sewing cooperative they want to start with  a couple of used sewing machines, a place to work, and the skills they have already mastered….

Adele Hammond
Artist, traveler, and social entrepreneur, Adele Hammond divides her time between Hood River, Oregon and the home where her heart is, Oaxaca, Mexico. The raw texture and color of Mexico became a part of her life when a year abroad with her family in a small Zapotec pueblo outside the city of Oaxaca gradually evolved into an extraordinary five.

Adele blogs about the culture, the crafts, and the people of Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico as well as her experiences in working with indigenous artisans there. Her travels take her down the back roads and into the workshops and homes of these people, where their diverse, ancient traditions and crafts are still being practiced today.

Her business, Latin Threads Trading, showcases and brings to a world market the work of these talented artisans while encouraging enterprise and empowering individuals to flourish independently and through their communities.
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