Back in November, this blog profiled the Feria Maestros de Arte. This article is dedicated to a similar event, focused on Mexico’s textile traditions
The Annual Festival of Textiles (Festival Anual de Textiles) has its origins in classes on backstrap weaving at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) by founder Yautic Quiroz while he was an architecture student. An exposition of the pieces made by his the students was held, attracting attention and leading to an informal association of people dedicated to this kind of weaving. The group grew to include people from other areas of the country.
The first event was held in 2014, planned and organized by Yautic Quiroz and a number of friends from the university. The idea attracted interested from various people from both Mexico City and various states. Intially the name was Encuentros de Artesanos Textiles, but it was changed to the current version to be more inclusive. It was held for a week alternating in three locations, the main UNAM campus, the Escuela de Artesanisas (School of Handcrafts) and the National Institute of Antropology and History, with not only artisans but academics and activists.
The second edition also lasted a week but was held in Tenancingo, State of Mexico, a town well-known for the weaving of rebozos. With this event, the rebozo was emphasized because its used has severely declined and Quiroz says is “stigmatized” but its reputation has rebounded somewhat in recent years. This time, instead of having an open call for participants, as they did the first years, artisans and others were invited. The main reason for this was that the open system resulted in many resellers at the event, which is not the main focus. Now the organizers make sure that the participants are artisans and are from the areas their goods represent, by going to the communities to make the invitations. Many of these participants have never left their home villages, with the possible exception to sell their wares.
This has the advantage fo not only authenticity, but allows for dialogue among the various types of participants. The event has evolved in a similar manner to the much larger Feria Maestros de Arte in Chapala, with not only the invitation of artisans but also the offer of of lodging in volunteers’ homes as well as food. At the moment, the Festival does not offer direct support for transportation costs. They have worked with local communities to get that support for the selected artisans. The goal for future Festivals is to provide transportation as well.
The third edition was held in Milpa Alta over three days (11, 12, 13 March 2016) in the extreme south of Mexico City with preliminary events in other locations such as Casa Talavera of the Autonomous University of the City of Mexico. This time the focus was on the textiles of Guerrero, although there were artistans from other regions and presentations not related to the state. The reason for this focus was that Guerrero has major problems with cartel and other violence, and the aim was to remind people that the state has various vibrant cultures. There were about 45 artisans from states such as Chiapas, Oaxaca, Hidalgo, Puebla and Veracruz, as well as Guerrero. There were also a few non-textile artisans selling items such as jewelry, books and other items.
The next Festival is slated to be held in Xalapa, Veracruz, which is the focus of the event for similar reasons as the focus on Guerrero. The two sites chosen are the Universidad Veracruzana and the Xalapa Anthropology Museum.
The Festival does not have a website but can be contacted through Facebook
Below are some of the participants in the event.