Instituto Desarrollo Artesanal de Zacatecas, Zacatecas
Fifty-percent of the artisans of Zacatecas are elderly and in extreme poverty, so that folk art is their only livelihood. The director of the Craft Development Institute Zacatecas (Ideaz), Milagros Hernández Muñoz, recognized the situation facing most of the artisans in the state, so in 1999 the Instituto Desarrollo Artesanal de Zacatecas, a public institute, was formed. The Instituto assists artists who work in metal, rustic hardwood furniture, leather, carved cantera (stone), weaving woolen blankets and ponchos, carved and inlaid marquetry, onyx and ceramic products.
Their mission is to promote handicraft production and thereby the economy in the state of Zacatecas. They strive for internal and external marketing of the work produced here, with a focus on continuous improvement of the lives of the artisans, creating the conditions necessary to ensure equal opportunities for economic and social development for all men and women who are dedicated to the craft.
There are several textile groups:
- Cerro de San Simon, municipality of Guadalupe, Zacatecas- three women and one man.
- Sierra Hermosa Rama, municipality of Villa de Coss, Zacatecas - four women and two men. Zóquite, municipality of Guadalupe, Zacatecas - five women, each a head of their household.
- Ojo de Agua, Zacatecas, Mexico - six women, 4 are currently learning the craft,
The groups involved in weaving have only been doing so for three years and use the pedal loom. They were prompted to learn because of the need to earn a living and have a vocation they can excel at. The women are heads of their households with families to care for. In this short time, each has developed several of their own techniques. Before the arrival of the Spanish (1546), the people here were hunters and fruit gatherers.
These areas of Zacatecas have had little opportunity to improve living conditions. The Instituto is helping by offering new economic resources in the way of craft opportunities to those who wish to improve their standard of living - it has given these artists a new vision of life.
The groups from Trancoso and the community of Ojo de Agua Zacatecas do knitting, crochet, and embroidery of various types using linen and cotton and natural thread. This group consists of four women, some of them heads of households. The needlework carefully crafted by these women has become part of the cultural heritage of the state, arriving with the first Hispanic settlers in the region. Indigenous and mestizo women in the area adopted the techniques of embroidery to recreate their world of birds, flowers, fruits and the environment around them. Techniques are inherited from their mothers and grandmothers.
Currently the Instituto is working on a project in conjunction with the Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). The priority of this project is supporting the craftsmen and women in conditions of marginalization, extreme poverty, women's groups, vulnerable groups and where Mexico's cultural heritage is at risk. At present, they have 148 members.
Instituto de Desarrollo Artesanal de Zacatecas
Plazuela Miguel Auza #312, Zacatecas, Zac.,
Charito Guzmán Bollain
492 925 5196, 492 924 3723, 491 925 4478