How do you start a great TEXTILE collection, or anything for that matter?
This is particularly challenging in Mexico where there are so many many artisan items vying for your attention. I suggest focusing on one, or two categories at a time until you train your eyes to distinguish differences . For example, rebozos, or embroidery. Then where ever you go – artisans market, seasonal fair, regional fiesta, look to see what is available there.
You might find, as an example, that many women in the area wear rebozos as head wraps. This is particularly true in Oaxaca at the Sunday Tlacolula market. You will see woman after woman wearing the same ‘arecela’ (rayon acetate) rebozo but in a different color , contrasting with their clothes and in a different wrapped configuration on their head. Then you will see women carrying loads in another dark rebozo made of cotton. There will be a particular embroidered blouse, with variations, that everyone seems to be wearing under a lace overblouse. If you check closely, most everyone will have such a similar blouse, but hidden from view. Eventually you will find someone selling these blouses, and you can take a closer look.
Advise #1 for collecting: Look, look and look again. Educate your eye by looking at a lot of the same item.
You will eventually find a perfect example of this blouse, but perhaps it will be hand-embroidered instead of by machine , and it will be beautiful! THEN you will buy it. The flashy ‘arecela’ rebozo will finally be located in the back of the Chicken Market and you will find a fabulous lime green one with especially fine hand-knotted fringe. It will be more expensive than the one next to it, but it will be worth it because of the care exhibited in the wonderful knotted ‘punta’ finishing.
Included are some photos of the quest for the perfect ‘arecela’ rebozo at the Tlacalula market, Oaxaca.