There are a lot of tongues wagging, and rightfully so, about the cultural appropriation (ripping off) of traditional textile designs created by indigenous artisans in Mexico. I am angry and concerned, and you will most likely hear more from me about this subject. I'm also alarmed by what's happening in the Mexican crafts world in general, due to globalization and the power of commercial interests who could give a flying you-know-what about preserving or respecting anyone's cultural identity. While you as a customer can find more and more online shops professing to carry items "handmade in Mexico", beware that there is no way to verify such a claim. No one is policing the internet-- whether it's articles on Facebook about a political candidate or a cute Etsy store selling inexpensive "peasant" blouses. Yuck, do I hate that word.
Just know that Mexico By Hand does not acquire our pottery or other artesania from a middle-person; we buy directly from artisans in Michoacán. I was asked recently by a woman interested in buying wholesale from us if I would share our supplier's website. That's a good one. I guess she figured she could just go online, order some dishes, and have them shipped across the world to her. We are the ones who find the artisans, visit them in their home workshops, buy the product and arrange the shipping. And OUR blouses are definitely hand embroidered by dozens of women in various indigenous communities-- also in Michoacán. We travel to remote villages, knock on doors, and build relationships with the folks from whom we buy. It's not as easy as the click of a mouse or copying someone's traditional ancestral design, but it's worth the effort. At least that's what we hear from our customers who seem to appreciate our products that are handmade and authentic.