(1) Hand Woven Oaxacan Tote Bag: measures 13” tall x 17” wide (1) Hand Embroidered Face Mask
HAND WOVEN OAXACAN TOTE:
From the mercado’s and puestos in rural pueblos to the runways of Paris, these humble bags have become quite the fashion statement. Handwoven from recycled plastic, this is the original “go green” and “upcycled” bag! Used for Domingos in the Mercados, they are built sturdy, to haul the kilos of aguacates, frijol, chile secos, and tortillas that are purchased each week. Today’s Oaxacan totes use more contemporary colors, magnetic closures, and other features to give it more use and bring it out of the mercado and onto the streets. The long handles allow you to carry or comfortably throw it over your shoulder. This beautiful tote can pull off double duty as a go-to bag for everyday use, or a sophisticated tote for a night out. It measures: 17” wide x 13” tall (22 ¼” tall with handles) and features a magnetic closure. It comes in 5 colors with a matching ornamental tassel.
HAND EMBROIDERED FACE MASK:
Just a few hours south of the city of Oaxaca de Juarez, lies the town of San Antonio Castillo Velasco. It’s a small pueblo of less than 5,000 habitants who all belong to the 2,500-year-old Zapotec civilization. Agriculture and cattle raising is what sustains the town, but the women have come to notoriety for their intricate and ornate embroidery. It’s so widely recognized and appreciated that it’s called “a ver si puedes”, see if you can, due to the many small details that only an expert embroiderer could accomplish in a reasonable time. Young children learn how to embroider from their mothers and grandmothers, preserving the legacy of this long and rich inheritance. Each mask takes about a week to make, with the majority of that time in embroidering every single flower, petal, stem, and leaf; 1 stitch at a time.
ABOUT THE ARTISAN:
This stunning tote is hand woven in Oaxaca by teams of artisans who will memorize you with a finger speed and dexterity that you would see from a classical pianist, their fingers guiding and weaving the recycled plastic cords, a 1/8 inch square at a time. They start at the base and slowing start to weave in tight circles till they weave an angled corner and start to build the walls of the bags, climbing slowly around and above the previous row. At the top, they leave two large bundles of cord, while they trim the rest and tuck them in to form the lip of the bag. The bundles that were left intact are woven into the handles which then get woven back into the bag to ensure a strong and long-lasting bag that can handle the heavy, weekly, market purchases.