Talk: Artful Aprons of San Miguel del Valle - Friday, January 25, 2019
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TALK: ARTFUL APRONS of SAN MIGUEL del VALLE... Cultural and Personal Identity Presented by Norma Schafer and Jacki Gordon
FRIDAY, JANUARY 25, 5 PM
MX$90 (M) MX$130 (NM)
Women in Oaxaca valley villages wear aprons. For use around the house, the aprons can be simple and functional. Those for fiestas can be over-the-top. When a visitor goes to the Sunday Tlacolula market, one sees a variety of apron designs worn by indigenous women of the region. There are ruffles and ribbons, pleats and tucks, hems finished with fancy factory-made lace. Each style identifies the village where the woman is from. The San Miguel del Valle aprons are distinctive. The bibs are narrower, the skirt is wide and flouncy, and depending on cost, can be almost completely covered in elaborate embroidered images of flowers, birds, animals, and leaves in an extravagant rainbow of color. It’s like wearing a work of art. The apron is worn by young girls, mature women, and grandmothers. The complexity of the embroidery depends on the occasion, family resources, and age of the wearer.
We will talk about indigenous textiles in general and how to discern quality. We will focus on the elaborate aprons of San Miguel del Valle, who makes them, who wears them, and why they are an important cultural marker. In a slide show, we will show examples of aprons from this village and their makers, and compare them with those from other villages in and around Tlacolula. We’ll see how the apron is part of economic development opportunities for women in a village where people primarily weave rugs for Teotitlan del Valle resellers. We’ll examine how aprons are made, choice of cloth, thread, and embellishment. We will talk about what type of support is needed to improve quality, how to evaluate quality and make the best, most informed selection. We will look at differing expectations of buyers — local customers and foreign visitors. We’ll learn a little history and geography of the region, too.
Several embroiderers from San Miguel del Valle will join us at the presentation and offer a limited selection of what they make for sale.