Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mayan Womens Co-op - Valladolid, Mexico

 As an avid folk art collector, while traveling my eye is always watching for the craft of the regions.  In Merida I saw many, many beautiful things.  The handwork of embroidery and crocheting on the clothing of the women was exquisite.........and expensive.  Then someone mentioned that there was a co-op in Valladolid where most of the things are made by the Mayan women.  In addition the women are working right there so you can meet them.  I couldn't wait.  The first thing I bought was this little scarf to use over a basket of warm tortillas or whatever.  This work is machine embroidered. Never the less, the design is precious.
 I absolutely could NOT pass up buying this dress for Matilda.  Again, this is machine done but the design is by the women and the work is done by the women.  Their use of color is extremely refined and beautiful.
 And then there is crocheting.  Delicate work.  They use it on the slips they wear under their huipiles and of course on many other things, including blouses such as this one.  I actually passed this by saying I really didn't need to spend any more money.  But it was "gifted" to me by two dear friends, which makes it even more special.

The women were shrewd business women.  They would negotiate a bit but they KNOW the worth of their work. The prices were way below the prices in Merida.  A long, long time ago - almost 50 years ago, I embroidered custom made workshirts and sold them through shops in Houston.  I know that it is labor intensive and worth every penny for that many stitches.  It would have been wonderful back then to have had a sewing machine capable of doing the kind of work these women create.  All in a day's work.  I'm SO glad I waited to go to the source.  To be able to meet the women and see so many beautiful things was a joy I'll never forget.  But I was so busy enjoying the experience that I forgot to take any photos of the place or all the beautiful garments.  Sorry.  You'll just have to go there yourself!
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Erin said...

Hello! I've been reading your blog for a while and really enjoy it. We're about to go to Isla Mujeres again in May, and I'm hoping to do a daytrip to Valladolid. (I'll be 6 months pregnant so we'll see if I make it in the heat!) Can you tell me where this co-op is located? I would love to go there. I'd love to pick up some things for the new baby. ;) Thanks!

Babs said...

Hi Erin - If you go to the main square in Valladolid and face the hotel that I shot the photo of the name of, which escapes me, directly to the left is an entrance to a building. All the coop shops are in there.
I was just regretting this morning that I didn't buy many more beautiful things there. You'll find lovely things for the new baby! Enjoy.