Alma Delia Ascención Ponce
Alma was born and raised in a small town by the Lake Pátzcuaro called Arocutin. The town is known for its beautiful cemetery during the celebration of Day of the Dead. Alma is married with two sons.
Alma began working with textiles as a young girl and learned from her mother. Sadly her father died when she was only 3 months old, so learning a skill as a young girl was important for the economy of the family. The tradition of working with, and decorating “manta”, a type of cotton, is multi-generational. Alma’s grandmother and great grandmother made items utilizing cross-stitch and the pulled thread techniques.
Alma now uses these techniques as well and she produces blouses, dresses, men’s shirts, children’s clothing and a variety of other pieces. She uses “punto de cruz” (cross-stitch) and “deshilado”, (a pulled thread technique) on designs that are based on pre-Hispanic designs as well as her own original designs.
Alma’s mother formed a cooperative more than 35 years ago and was the first president. Today, there are about 15 members and Alma is their president. The cooperative includes a few men as well. They are formally registered with the government and are multi-generational.
The three male members work collaboratively with the cooperative to make wooden “viejito” dolls and the women make the clothing with cross-stitching designs.
The dance of the “viejitos” or “old men dance” is a traditional ballet folklorico dance often seen in Michoacán where children and adults wear “old men” masks and traditional embroidered costumes of natural manta. The dancers perform as if they are very old men with canes. Then as the music tempo increases, they transform from bent over cane-using, slow-walking elders to frantically fast-paced figures snaking in and out.
Arocutin does not have a local government-sponsored “concurso” or judged art show, but the local artisans have traveled to different states for exhibitions as well as entering some of the Michoacán state competitions. Alma and her mother have won several awards over the years. In addition, Alma was invited to California where she led workshops and exhibitions. She is the entrepreneur of the group and has a small shop in an Indigenous-owned building on the Plaza Grande in Pátzcuaro. She sells her own work, the cooperative’s as well as textiles and items from other towns.
Calle Morelos SN
Arocutín, Mich 61632
434 116 4385 WhatsApp