Bordadoras Unidas Arcoiris
THE ARTISAN : BORDADORAS UNIDAS ARCOIRIS
The women artisans of Bordados Arcoiris come from six communities in Tenango, state of Hidalgo, Mexico. They embroider what their grandmothers taught them, and are proud to keep Tenango embroidery alive. With colorful string, the women draw the traditions of the Hidalgo people, illustrating everyday life, including their native plants and animals, as well as their crop cultivation.
BEHIND THE SCENES with Bordadoras Unidas Arcoiris
QUESTION: Briefly, what is the process to make this product from start to finish, and how long does production take?
ANSWER: To make a Tenango pillowcase the following steps are followed:
- Cut the cotton cloth
- Draw the design by free-hand
- Embroider using a houndstooth stitch technique
- Wash the piece to erase the drawing previously made
- Iron the piece before it has completely dried
- Stitch the hemline by hand or with a sewing machine
The time to make this product depends on the design, on average it takes between 20-25 days. For larger pieces such as a 2x2 meter Tenango, it can take between 90-120 days. The weather is also a factor in the time of production, since it is mostly humid and rainy throughout the year. This affects the cloth because it doesn’t dry adequately. Another factor is the distance between and communication between the communities, which affects the time it takes to deliver the product. Landslides can sometimes block the rural roads that lead to the communities, and can also cause power outages.
QUESTION: What are the materials used, and where do they come from?
ANSWER: The artisans use Mexican cotton made in textile factories in the states of Puebla and Monterrey.
QUESTION: Where did the technique being used come from, is there a historical or cultural significance behind it?
ANSWER: The Tenango originates from the Sierra Otomi Tepehua in the state of Hidalgo. In the Tenango there is a representation of the rich and complex cultural construction of the people who live in this region. Through its lively colors, the Tenango expresses the knowledge, the connection with nature and the cosmos, and the religiousness of these people.
QUESTION: Who are the artisans who make this product, and in what way is their life impacted as a result of working with this group?
ANSWER: The artisans are indigenous and farmer women between the ages of 18 and 65, who have managed to organize themselves into this group to find a way to improve their family income. They look for fair prices for their dedication to traditional handcrafted work. With the help of AIDI A.C, they have been able to find market niches, which allows them to obtain better income for themselves and their families. The artisans see this group as a means to improving their living conditions.