Sunday, March 16, 2014

Otomi embroideries

I saw this magical embroidery when we were in Mexico last week.  Hanging on a wall of a quiet shop in a rural area with no one near, it took me by surprise.   Although I haven't seen one like it before, there was something familiar about it. 
I've since learned that these embroideries are made by the Otomi Indians in Eastern Mexico. Sometimes they are called  Tenango embroideries, and sometimes Otomi embroideries.  Hand Eye magazine has an informative online article that Laura Aviva wrote in 2009.  I was interested to learn that these embroideries, usually two metres square and made for wedding gifts, are rooted in ancestral local women's dress.  
This beautifully designed hand embroidered banner was displayed in the same quiet shop.
The design is first drawn on the muslin in water soluble ink with a pen.
I think that the stitches may be the traditional herringbone stitch packed closely together as it often is in East Indian embroidery.
When we were leaving, I purchased this hand stitched embroidery at the airport.  There was a stack of them, place mat sized in a wide choice of solid colours.  The image was always two animals facing each other.  Perhaps dancing? 


"Tenangos evoke a spirit of magical realism, merging the real and the mythical." Laura Aviva

12 comments:

  1. Beautiful work. Thanks for showing them to us. I have not seen these before.

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  2. I have not seen them before either, and at first I thought they were applique! An amazing amount of work goes into them, doesn't it?

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  3. An eye opener, had never heard or seen Otomi embroideries, thank you for sharing.

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  4. Yummy! THE CLOSE UP OF STITCH WAS A REVELATION.

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  5. i have always loved these, the all one color one is interesting. i see it as a sort of conversation. often when two beasts face each other i feel it is a kind of gate keeping.

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  6. Judy I must tell you that we own a table cloth which is covering our piano forte of exactly the same design and I am marvelling at it. It is large 180cm diameter. Thank you for the link - I know now where about it is coming from. Very interesting.

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  7. You did buy that colourful banner for me, right? =) The Otomi embroideries are gorgeous and inspiring – they are new to me. As a student I did a tiny embroidery along those lines and recently put it on my studio wall to inspire new work, and now you've reinforced that thinking with the Otomi textiles. Synchronicity is a wonderful thing.

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  8. What a find! The bright colours are fun but I'm loving the one you found at the airport.

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  9. I have one of these tucked away, a gift from a friend who went to Mexico. I think it has bees on it - I'll dig it out and take a picture.

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  10. I am amazed by the different strange animals in the first work. And what they have by their mouths...

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  11. so beautiful! when i first glanced at the photos, i thought they were applique'! i have never heart of otomi embroideries before, but will definitely be keeping my eyes open to see them in person in the future! thanks so much for introducing them to us!

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  12. One type of stitch, one quiet colour ... the movement of the thread is what makes it come to life.

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Thank you for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.xx