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News — crafts

Always Handmade and Authentic

Peggy Stein artesania authentic blouses crafts cultural appropriation handmade Mexican textiles traditional

Always Handmade and Authentic

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...

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Butterflies and Baskets

Peggy Stein baskets butterflies crafts Michoacan migration monarch pine needle

Butterflies and Baskets

I recently made another visit to a Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Michoacán, Mexico. The good news is that the numbers of butterflies in Mexico increased in 2018 and the efforts of conservation appear to be working. But there is another story that the millions of tourists who visit the area each year don't see. Because of the prohibition on logging in the forests to protect the endangered butterflies, many of the indigenous people who live there have lost their livelihoods, and they are barely surviving. I spent several hours with a few artisans who weave beautiful pine needle baskets, not far from the butterfly sanctuaries.The sale of the baskets provides much needed income for families, and helps protect the butterflies.

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Handmade-- endangered species?

Peggy Stein artesania blouses crafts handmade Michoacan rebozos textiles traditional

Handmade-- endangered species?

In indigenous communities in the poor state of Michoacán, there aren’t a lot of employment opportunities for women without much education. If a woman can work on a blouse or rebozo for a few hours a day while a pot of beans is cooking over the fire and she watches her children, that is something that can provide some income for her family. The traditional designs that have been passed down from mother to daughter represent their community and culture. If the demand for the work disappears, it would be a financial and spiritual loss for the women and their families.  

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People Made These Things

Peggy Stein artesania crafts folk art handmade Mexican

People Made These Things

Should we know the name of the maker of a piece of art, be it a painting or a clay pot?  We strive to tell the story behind the artesania we buy and sell, to respect and honor the hardworking craftspeople who make it. But does it make a difference to you to see the artist's face or learn her story, and does that knowledge or artist's signature in fact make the work more valuable? 

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Como se dice? (How do you say...?)

Peggy Stein artesania crafts folk art Mexican

Como se dice? (How do you say...?)

People often ask what we sell. I will answer “crafts” and sometimes "folk art"-- if I'm talking to people who don't understand Spanish. There just isn’t a good translation for the word artesania. Sometimes Spanish speaking experts in the field call it Arte Popular, but these days that isn't used much. The problem with both the Spanish term artesania and the English term "crafts" is that people have different ideas of what that is. We do not sell crochet items or cute DIY things made with supplies from hobby and craft stores. We don't sell piñatas either. Most of the items we...

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