Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oaxacan Embroidery

Greetings from sunny San Carlos, in the beautiful Mexican state of Sonora...

What a small world it is! One of my co-attendees of the yearly Point Bonita quilt retreat has a condo in the same small enclave where ours is (which actually belongs to my father-in-law). And she is here this week.

Meet Leigh Hay-Martin....

Leigh lives with her husband in Jerome, Arizona. She stays down here in San Carlos for several months each year.
Her quilt on the couch fits so well with the Mexican textiles, don't you think?
She's a fine quilter, and has a nice little set-up in their condo for that.

Of course that is one of Leigh's quilts on the bed.

Leigh and her husband, Richard, spent a week in Oaxaca over Christmas. While there, she purchased some vintage and new textiles that feature the traditional embroidery of the region. They are so lovely that I thought you would enjoy seeing them.

I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves, as I don't know enough about these to give much information. But I can say this is worked in cotton on velvet, by hand, and is a satin stitch. The black showing is the velvet background fabric.

Here is a detail.

The second piece.....

...is also quite old, and worked on a mellow wine-colored velvet.

There are more....

...amazing, isn't it?

Here is a detail....

...and below is how it looks from the back....

...There is a backing fabric, no batting. One thing I find so impressive is the total lack of distortion normally caused by such intensive stitching.

The next piece is contemporary, and shows the entire outfit.

These are worn in religious processions.

Here's a close up...the stitching is a little different.

This is all chain stitched...and maybe done with a tambour hook?
From the back it looks like this....

Maybe one of you can tell me how this was done...

Leigh's husband bought her this magnificent vintage outfit for Christmas....

The way the flowers change scale just enchants me...
The lace is stiff and pleated...

I think Leigh said the lace is from England.

She has a book about all this and I've taken some pictures so you can see these costumes as they are meant to be worn....

Surely she is one of the most beautiful maidens I have ever seen.
Two more images from this book follow...

Imagine how it would feel, to be part of this!
And this.....

I would love to travel to Oaxaca one day to experience this in person.

In the meantime, the sisterhood of the needle and the spirit brings all of us together...

22 comments :

Vicki W said...

How fortunate that those textiles are in the hands of someone who will truly care for them. Thanks for sharing, they are amazing!

Kay said...

How beautiful, not only the work but the colors. Clearly your friends work has been influenced by the colors she's surrounded with.

Debra said...

What fabulous dresses! I would love to have one of those!

Nice that you were able to find each other and enjoy your textile relationship together.

I have quilted the log cabin and it is ready to go to its new home later this week. thanks so much!

Barbara C said...

Thanks for sharing the delicious photos. Those embroidered roses are extraordinary.

Jane said...

Hi Allie, I'm glad you are having fun in Mexico. Thank you for sharing the embroideries from Oaxaca, they are gorgeous.
The chain stitch, since you say is on a more recent garment, may be done by machine. I have a jacket, bought from JCPenney, but made in India, with the same type of chain stitch embroidery, and I have seen it also on outfits from Africa. I haven't seen them though with the same solor sense, these are beautiful!
Did you find out the name of the embroidery? I know there is a "huipul" that comes from Central America, I was wondering if this was the same.

Ira said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful pictures with us. Gret colors

Sande said...

The outfits, colors, stitching are all fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing them.
It's good to hear you're having a wonderful vacation, and even with a fellow quilter.

Plays with Needles said...

WOW!! What a post! Thank you for sharing -- the roses, the stitching, the colors -- all of those women in procession not to mention Leigh's house and her quilts -- what a stimulating post! I'd be hyperventilating, I think...

Summerset said...

Thank you for sharing! Just the thing I needed for my grey and white winter world.

verobirdie said...

Oh, that makes my day! Those embroideries are gorgeous. I wish I could wear some. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa said...

What incredibly beautiful work! Think of all the hours put into each of those dresses! Truely magnificent! Thanks so much for sharing!

Miekenoor said...

Thanks for sharing this, Allie. What beautiful textiles Leigh showed you!

Kay Koeper Sorensen said...

This is my first (but not my last) visit to your blog.
Imagine my surprise when I saw Leigh!
We met in Santa Fe as I walked across the hotel parking lot wearing Blue Fish Clothing several years ago!
Please say Hello to her for me.
I'm in awe of the textile art she found.
K

Jean said...

Just Beautiful! And the shading and colors are so wonderful! Isn't it nice that we can have such an appreciation for all the different types of needle work out there! Beautiful, to say the very least!
Hope your having a wonderful time!

CH said...

Allie what a great blog that captures some beautiful work. And I happen to know the lady in the picture... that's my favorite sister Leigh! She is an incredibly talented and so creative. I'm so proud of you. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Nicki Lee said...

Allie thank you for sharing the pictures of Oaxaca - they bring back some beautiful memories. I spent 2 weeks in that gorgeous little town a couple years ago and loved every minute of it. I collect the little colorful wood carvings and had to go see where they were made. What a trip. The beautiful colors they create with are an artist dream and yes... I just had to buy one of the pretty embroidered blouses as the work in just incredible. Enjoy for vacation!

Possibilities, Etc. said...

I love their pottery also - the way they make it black is fascinating. These embroideries are what set me on the road to needlework when I was a very young child.

Robin said...

Of all the places in Mexico that I've heard about, the one I'd most like to visit is Oaxaca. Thanks for the pictures... Leigh has some magnificent examples of their fine embroidery skills. I just love the colors and the joy of it! The is also some beautiful silver work from that area. Love your posts!

Robin A.

Anonymous said...

Your friend, Leigh, is beautiful and so are her wonderful Oaxacan textiles. I love the color and richness_abundanza. Leigh has such a glorious suntan. Your medallion has some of the same feeling as these embroideries.
Granny Fran who wishes she could still grip an embroidery needle.

Anonymous said...

I live in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca and have been trying to find a source for patterns of the embroidery used in the Amusgos huipiles. If any of your readers have a source I would appreciate hearing from them.

jjgowling@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Beautiful does not describe! Do you have a source for womens dresses and tunics. I have one too damaged to wear anymore and i am looking for another. I need a 3x. Any ideas? Thank you Susan mayes
Silvergirl.spa@mail.com

Anonymous said...

Email is silvergirl.spm@email.com not spa.