TIXINDA WEAVING COOPERATIVE
PINOTEPA de DON LUIS, MEXICO
On the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico, Margarita uses a spindle to make thread and a back-strap loom circling her hips to weave stories in ancient brocade. . . the way her Mixtec people have done for thousands of years.
Her husband milks inky purple dye from mollusks clinging to the rocky shore and does so without killing them. . . a dangerous business the men of her village have always practiced and are now the only ones in Mexico with the license to do so, so fine is that skill.
When the weavers and dyers of this area no longer had a market for their remarkable skills and income became impossible in their rural village, the young among them began to search for a better life and risked their lives heading to the promised land of the US.
Patrice Perillie saw the direction this was going and decided to change it. Dreamweavers is a reverse migration project, Patrice says, with a smile. I want to give these skilled artisans a reason to stay in Mexico, to embrace their tradition with pride, pass it on, and earn a living doing so.
When an earthquake went tearing up the coast and through their village in 2018, homes were destroyed as well as the storeroom where the group of weavers work, store supplies, and occasionally set up market. The villagers took care repairing one another's homes, but need assistance to repair and uplift their workspace.
The brilliant weavers also requested training in business and organization, becoming a legal Mexican cooperative and learning how to oversee quality control, handling of money and sales, distribution of funds, exporting to the US. . . everything that is involved in running a successful venture. They also requested design training to learn how to create product that both honored their heritage but could lead to sales in the US.
The Ibu Foundation responded to their request and worked with Patrice to secure outstanding training from Ana Paula Fuentes and Claudia Munoz. Meeting monthly over a period of 5 months in their village, Ana Paula and Claudia, both with vast backgrounds in textile curation, business, and the US market, are conducting intensive trainings with the group of 60 women.
Turning a rich heritage into hope. Saving tradition. Spinning dreams. That's what we love about this group of determined women in Pinotepa de Don Luis.