The artistsbehind the products
One of the finest
paper-cut artists in Mexico
Our paper-cuts are made by the wonderful Sergio, one of the finest paper-cut artists in Mexico, working from his family run studio in Metepec. Originally trained as a professional jazz musician, Sergio applies that improvisation to skillfully carve out pictures with his chisel. Lucy, of Montes&Clark was lucky enough to have a two week apprenticeship with Sergio in Mexico, where she could appreciate the quality and skill of his designs.
Sergio creates his own original designs for Montes & Clark. And he works with us to develop specially commissioned bunting for parties, weddings and as framed artwork. Below is one example of some bunting commissioned by the restaurant chain Wahaca to celebrate Day of the Dead!
Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, in particular the Central and South regions. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey
Chiapas – Mexico
Our woven products are made on a back-strap loom by women living around San Cristobal de las Casas, in Chiapas, to the south of Mexico. A back-strap loom is a traditional technique, a low cost and portable loom which is tied around a weaver’s waist and then around a tree or post to achieve tension. This enables women to work at home without having to travel to cities. The width of the cloth is thus limited by the width of the weavers arm. Our table cloths which are made from back-strap loom cloth is made up of strips that have been neatly sewn together to make a wider cloth.
We work with an inspiring cooperative just outside San Cristobal, called Jolom Mayaetik. They coordinate large orders sharing the work between the local women, ensure they are paid a fair price, and provide support needed. This might mean purchasing the thread and cloth for the women or teaching new techniques. Jolom Cooperative describe how the colours, symbolism and weaving have preserved the ancient Mayan culture. “The cosmology and history of Mayan culture is expressed in every weaving and serves as a communion between mortals and deities”.
The diamond or zigzag designs representing a snake, symbols of a universe in harmony, or the maize plant, a symbol of mother earth with its multiple arms with which it embraces her children.
Breath taking embroidery
from the mountains
The amazing ‘Otomi’ embroidery has been made by indigenous Otomi women living in the mountains in central Mexico, to the east of Mexico City. Most of the women we buy from make the embroidery while looking after their families. One of our throws can take over three months to make.
The design originated after a drought in the 1960s, which devastated the local agricultural economy. The women adapted their traditional embroidery techniques into a design that could be produced relatively quickly to be taken to market. The embroidery design quickly became popular and enabled the women the contribute to the household income.
There tend to be some women who specialise in the design, drawing the images onto the cloth. Other women specialise in the embroidery, taking the drawn designs to work with. They are very proud of their craft and design.
When we visited Pahuatlan del Valle to meet some of these embroidery women, we were told of a local cave which inspired the designs. The caves feature paintings of mythical creatures. One of the caves in particular is only allowed to be visited by women, who go there to pray for the health of their eyesight so they can continue to embroider.
The Otomi designs are recognisable for their striking mythical creatures and symbolic floral imagery. The designs are ever evolving to incorporate modern family scenes and concepts, ensuring the tradition stays relevant to new generations.