Feliciana Hernández Bautista, Ahuiran, Michoacán
Feliciana Hernandez Bautista comes from a long line of famous rebozo (or shawl) weavers utilizing back-strap looms. She was born and raised in the "rebozo" town of Ahuiran, Michoacan. As a young child she lived with her grandmother, Martina Caballero Romero, who is also Cecilia Bautista's mother. Cecilia is a Banamex great master and the organization is now working with the extended family. Feliciana lived with her grandmother most of her youth. Both Cecilia and Feliciana were taught to weave fine rebozos by Martina. Currently, Feliciana lives with her extended family and she has taught the women of the household to weave as well. Her daughter-in-law, Juana Perez Ramos and her granddaughter, as well as other family members all work together. Her grandson, Gilberto (Martin) Nucy Perez assists them with marketing and development of new designs. One of her tiny little great granddaughters can be seen working as well.
As a very young child, Feliciana begged her grandmother to teach her to weave, but Martina said she was too young. But little Feliciana didn't listen to her grandmother and found 2 sticks and made her first "loom". When her grandmother noted her enthusiasm, she let little Feliciana work with acrylan thread under her supervision and her first toy weaving for a doll was made. Her grandmother was pleased and she encouraged her to make her first small rebozo out of cotton around age 10. She graduated to larger and larger pieces until she completed her first full size rebozo. By 14 she was learning how to do the tying by hand of the fringe and by 16, she was allowed to work with real silk and she learned to make eagle and other designs in the fringe. At 18, she began to learn to work with feathers, for which the town of Ahuiran is famous.
Feliciana has continued to hand down the tradition and has taught her daughter in law and others how to work with natural dyes as well as the feather technique. The family has won numerous prizes including special awards at the state level for their new designs such as ponchos, capes, shawls, etc and interesting combination of threads. They have also won numerous local awards and have traveled to Coyoacan, Mexico City and other cities to participate in exhibitions. In Coyoacan, they were recognized by a special award for their innovative work.
Rosa, Feliciana's grandaughter, stated that she is eternally grateful for her grandmother's tutelage. After only 5 years, she won her first "premio especial" (special award) at the State level for a new design with a double fringe of "flowers", a total of 3,000 flowers.
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