a report from the travels of Hannah Blatt
Maria spends her days sitting in the courtyard of her home in the rural village of Pinotepa de Don Luis, Mexico, weaving on the ancient backstrap loom. She ties the loom to a post and secures the strap around her waist, sits down on the stone ground, and begins her craft. Each hand-woven garment requires two weeks of preparation and spinning, and another 3 months or 400 hours of weaving. The pieces created are nothing less than a language of love. When asked if Maria enjoys this type of work, she proudly says this is not work to me, this is my way of life.
Maria is one of the talented artisans that attended the business, design and leadership workshop funded by Ibu Foundation, where she learned useful knowledge like what colors sell best in western markets, how to appropriately price their garments, and how important it is to have attention to detail when measuring and sizing.
I had the pleasure of meeting many of the other talented artisans at the 11th Annual Dreamweaver’s Exhibition in January, and was able to view the exquisite pieces made by the artisans of Oaxaca, Mexico – everything from blouses and tunics to table runners and earrings – all of which were created after the Ibu Foundation workshop.
We then traveled four hours to the town of Pinotepa de Don Luis, where many women welcomed me into their homes and showed me their craft. I was mesmerized by the steady movements of their hands, the second-nature skill employed on the loom, and the happiness radiating when they would sit down to begin their work. The stories they told and the passion they shared for their craft were heart-warming and inspiring.
What I loved most was seeing first-hand the impact Ibu has had on this community. These women have been provided with intensive design and business trainings, as well as the necessary tools and equipment needed to continue doing the work they so love. They have been given an expanded market to sell their goods, in which the pieces are appreciated for the luxury works of art they are. The support and opportunities provided by Ibu and the Ibu Foundation have had far-reaching effects in this community and beyond. Each woman I met expressed her gratitude toward the Foundation and toward the Ibu Movement. And I expressed my gratitude toward them – for the love they put into their work.
I express my gratitude towards you, the Ibu Movement – to our supporters and allies who are making a difference in the lives of women worldwide.
With love and gratitude,