Collecting 101

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 perfectarecela’ rebozo at the Tlacalula market, Oaxaca.

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5 thoughts on “Collecting 101

  1. Wanted to tell you about the Feria Maestros del Arte — an annual Mexican Art exposition held every November in Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico. The mission of the Feria is “To Preserve and Promote Mexican Folk and Indigenous Art.”
    We are celebrating our 10th anniversary Nov. 18-20th in Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico. More than 90 artisans from all corners of Mexico will attend to exhibit and sell their crafts.

    • Hi Delayne – for the past two years I have come from Oaxaca and volunteered at the Feria Maestros helping the textile artists with translation etc. So I know what a wonderful event it is. This year I won’t make it but send my saludos to Cecilia (Rebozos Michoacana) if she’s there. I’ll miss the experience of being with so many talented artisans.
      Thanks for your comment.

    • Hi there Delayne – Yes in my last ‘blog’ I wrote about the rebozos of the Feria – I worked as a volunteer in 2009 and ’10 and helped those artisans with translation and selling. Actually some of them are friends from Tenancingo and Oaxaca. I see the fair was a huge success this year. Mention to MaryAnn about my article. I’m also a member of Los Amigos…
      Hasta next year I hope to be there…
      Sheri Brautigam

  2. Hi Sheri!
    I’ve learned so much already from your blog, thanks! Followed the link from your Etsy store and here I am, a life-long learner.
    Toronto, Canada

  3. Patricia –
    Thanks for your appreciation of the BLOG (hope you ‘signed up’ so you’ll get the next addition automatically)…and that you loved your Ecuadorian fabric! It does have rich colors doesn’t it? I’ll look around in storage – I might have some other ‘brights’ to put on Etsy. So many things in storage – I better get on it! I think I’ll create another Etsy shop – with my ‘treasures’ (not textiles) from South America. Stay tuned….

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