Marcela Hernández Méndez, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas
The handmade stuffed wool animals made by Marcela Hernández Méndez are from the village of San Cristobal de las Casas, in the central highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. Though Chiapas boasts the three largest hydroelectric dams in the country, it is the poorest state in Mexico, and most of the state’s inhabitants live without electricity or running water.
Despite this extreme poverty, this area is rich in indigenous culture, natural beauty and traditional crafts. Each item is unique and made with natural, hand-spun wool shorn from local, sustainably raised sheep. Weaving and embroidering textiles is a tradition in this region that descends from the ancient Mayan people. Most traditional clothing worn in Chiapas today is still made from wool.
They get the wool from their own sheep and clean it, wash it and card it, then they spin it and dye it. Only then the wool is ready to be woven in a back strap loom and then the animals are shaped and stuffed.
Marcela's craft was born when weavers decided to make their children toys with the wool leftovers they had. They made them stuffed sheep and donkeys. Soon after they began to sell the animals and so, customers preferences and suggestions encouraged the weavers to make different animals like cats, dogs, elephants and so on and to use chemical dyes to get bolder colors.
967 118 5906
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas
Pajapan, Veracruz 95960