Lucina Chávez Mayor, San Jeronimo Sosola, Oaxaca
Lucina Chávez Mayor is from a Mixteca community in Oaxaca. Palm weaving is an authentic Mexican craft, with ancient traditions passed from generation to generation. The weaving of palm is one of the main sources of income in San Jeronimo Sosola, Oaxaca where Lucina lives and works.
Her parents, Ines Mayoral and Pablo Chavez, artisans by birth, taught her this beautiful art form when she was just a child and it has become an important part of Lucina’s life — being able to present and teach her art within her community satisfies her desire to keep this art form and its traditions alive.
It all starts with the collection of palm leaves. For this, weavers from the community enter the jungle and, using a special sickle for this purpose, cut the green and tender palm leaves that have not yet spread. Those leaves are the only ones that retain the flexibility necessary for weaving. After cutting the leaves, they collect them and transport them, on the back of a donkey, back to the community.
Each palm leaf is sliced and left to dry in the open for bleaching. Depending on the desired degree of “whiteness”, this process takes between 8 and 10 days. One thing to remember is that leaves are now dry, which means they are also hard and if the weaver were to try and braid them, they would break. The leaves are manipulated to get a soft texture by scalding them in boiling water. After doing this, they are left to dry for a day and then leaves are elastic enough to begin weaving.
Lucina does not know exactly how many generations of her family have passed down this knowledge, however, palm weaving has been documented since pre-Hispanic times. She works with her sisters and brother, a nephew and some of the children — some weave and others are involved in selling the work.
Colonia San Mateo Sosol
San Jeronimo Sosola, Oaxaca
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