Behind The Scenes: Mexican Photographer Captures the Beauty of Handmade Mexican Textiles

If you are not familiar with Mexican textiles, you might question how it’s possible to make something so beautiful and intricate by hand.

New customers often walk in and ask––– “Is this made by hand?”

Yes, the majority of Mexican textiles are handmade. This is what makes them so amazing!

When customers hear this, they are often prepared to question that answer.

“This has to be machine made,” some of them answer back.

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In spite of reassuring them that these textiles are not machine made, they still have trouble believing us.

We get it. It seems impossible that something so intricate and elaborate could be made by hand.

But the truth is, Mexican hand weaving and embroidery are mesmerizing arts that often takes several weeks or months to produce.

The reason we hold this art so dear to our hearts is because it is a cultural tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Every piece is unique. Every textile is a treasure. And they should be cherished as pieces of art.

At Mexico In My Pocket, we want those traditions to continue, which is why we are committed to sharing the stories behind them with our community.

How are Mexican textiles made?

There are a few different ways that the artisans create these handmade treasures.

Two of the most popular ways are traditional hand embroidery and hand weaving using a backstrap loom––also known as “telar de cintura” in Spanish.

What is a backstrap loom and how is it used?

A backstrap loom traditionally consists in sticks, rope, and a strap that is attached to the waist.

When artisans use a backstrap loom, they typically produce intricate designs by using an over-under method.

While hand embroidery––is exactly what it sounds like–––hands, a needle, and thread.

In this series of photographs, Ana Paula Fuentes––social designer, photographer, and a cultural guide who has been living in Oaxaca for the past 16 years––captures the beauty and intricacy of creating textiles by hand embroidery and by backstrap loom.

I. Weaver from San Pablo Tijaltepec, Oaxaca

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II. Weaver from Las Sanjuaneras, San Juan Colorado, Oaxaca

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III. Hand Embroidery from Zacualpan, Guerrero

IV. Hand Embroidery from Ñaa Ñanga, San Pablo Tijaltepec, Oaxaca

V. Hand Embroidery from Ñaa Ñanga, San Pablo Tijaltepec, Oaxaca

VI. Weaver from San Pablo Tijaltepec, Oaxaca

VII. Weaver from Las Sanjuaneras, San Juan Colorado, Oaxaca

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