Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead

Montes & Clark have supplied the brilliant Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca with many hundreds of meters of handmade papercut bunting. This was commissioned with a special Day of the Dead design for Wahaca, and made by the papercut artist Sergio in his workshop in Mexico. Day of the Dead is becoming ever popular outside of Mexico. The striking catrina women – in elaborate dresses with skull painted faces – light the imagination. In London it is almost overtaking traditional Halloween fancy dress costumes. But the festival is much more than a dressing up theme for a party. Day of the Dead is an opportunity to celebrate and remember family and friends who have died beyond the single event of a funeral or wake. An altar is prepared, covered in flowers and fruits, where you can bring the favourite food and drinks of the dead you wish to remember and light a candle in their honour. The London Mexican community gather on November 2nd at the most authentic gathering at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green. And here I love to see the intermingling of messages for ‘my nan’ accompanying a cup of tea and a cigarette, along with traditional Mexican food and tequila for departed relatives. If you have never experienced Day of the Dead, then come along on Sunday November 2nd. It’s free and family oriented with craft making, day of the dead themed face-painting and live music. Bring along a momento of someone you wish to honor and remember. And head to a Wahaca restaurant if you want to taste authentic, fresh Mexican food (rather than the unappetising...

The stories told in every cloth

Over the past 6 months I have been knee deep in Otomi embroidery and have never been happier.  With our business, Montes&Clark soon to be launched, fairs and pop up shops imminent, my workroom has been filled with embroidered cloth in all colours of the rainbow. The graphic foral and animal patterns peer back at me from the ironing board, ready to be made into throws, cushions and lampshades. Every cloth tells its own story and I feel fascinated by each craftwoman and her story. This particular embroidery design came about after a drought in the 1960’s devastated the agricultural economy of these Otomi communities in central Mexico. The women needed to find an additional source of income with a design that used thread resourcefully. A bold and distinctive embroidery style arose out of this economic necessity, because of the women’s inate sense of design and understanding of cloth, skills practiced by Mexican women for centuries. In a recent delivery from Mexico, and opened up an exquisitly stitched yellow cloth that tells such a touching story of parenthood and general day to day life that I am reluctant to let it go.  As a fellow embroiderer I completely appreciate the time and artistry that goes into each piece of cloth and I have a huge amount of respect for the woman that make them. My own passion for Otomi embroidery started nearly 10 years ago when I worked with Chloe Sayer, a well known author and lecturer on Mexican Textiles at the Bermondsey Fashion and Textiles Museum.  At that time I was working at the Royal School of Needlework...