MAKING

Jessica Helgerson

Posted on February 02 2018

No. 2 / COLOR - Connecting with Mexico through handcrafted beauty, with Collectivo

Collectivo began as an idea in 2016 and was founded by Vail Fletcher, a professor of gender and environmental studies with a fascination for the handmade, Jessica Helgerson, an interior designer with a deep affection for Mexico, and Cristina Niculescu, a travel-loving Spanish professor. Collectivo collects beautiful handmade goods straight from the source, with these three women traveling to remote indigenous villages to meet the makers and learn about the age-old traditions behind each craft and document the hours, weeks or even months that go into making a single piece. Each region has its natural materials, each village its speciality, and each family its own take on tradition. Their mission is to share with you their love for Mexico through the artistry and stories they collect along the way and Collectivo brings you these treasures and the stories behind them. You can find Collectivo at ourcollectivo.com and on Instagram @ourcollectivo

 

ou can also and listen and subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher.

/ notes & resources /

Collectivo / Guest site 

/ giveaway /

This week we’re giving away a sweater’s worth of Moeke Yarn Elena grey and a copy of our first Making issue, No. 1 / FLORA. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this blog post. 

/ Making update /

Just a little update, we’ve got lots of great things in our shop at makingzine.com. Subscriptions for Making 2018, which includes issue No. 5 / COLOR and No. 6 / BW are available, along with the entire line of Moeke Yarns, a variety of kits and available for pre-order is UNIFORM and UNIFORM little, a knit and sew collaboration between Carrie Hoge and Grainline Studio. And if you’re a shop looking to wholesale, you can find No. 5 / COLOR and the UNIFORM books on our wholesale site.  

/ sponsors /

This episode is brought to you by our lovely sponsors.

The Yarn Collectivo. theyarncollective.com @theyarncollective 

Shepherd's Dream. shepherdsdream.com @shepherdsdream

 

/ transcript /

 

Ep. 2/COLOR Connecting With Mexico through handcrafted beauty, with Collectivo.

Ashley: [00:00:05] Welcome to Making a podcast for makers. I'm excited to share with you some incredible people I've had the opportunity to talk to in this community we love so much. From knitters and quilters to builders and painters, here's where you get to listen to a little part of their making journey.

 

Sponsor: [00:00:23] I want to thank our sponsors for this week's episode. The Yarn Collective as a new fiber and design company focused on working with the best independent designers to bring you luxurious hand-dyed yarns in a range of inspiring colourways. The Yarn Collective has kicked off the launch with a group of designers representing the best of modern knitwear design. Melanie Berg, Carol Feller, Bristol Ivy, and Michelle Wang. The third in the line of the collection is Pembroke Worsted curated by Bristol Ivy who's colourway is based on rich pure tones and gems and minerals. The yarn is spun from Soft merino wool by a family-run mill in Peru to create a wonderfully soft handle that is suitable for all types of knitting. Bristol has created two patterns to support the launch of her yard the Larkin Pullover and the Donne Hat. The saturated colors and slight variegation the colourways made me immediately think of texture and the blending and highlighting of colors that that can create, says Bristol. Visit theyarncollective.com and follow along on Instagram @theyarncollective and make sure to visit loveknitting.com where you can purchase all The Yarn Collective yarns.

 

Ashley: [00:01:33] Collectivo began as an idea in 2016 and was founded by Vail Fletcher, a professor of Gender and Environmental Studies with a fascination for the handmade, Jessica Helgerson, an interior designer with a deep affection for Mexico, and Cristina Niculescu, a travel-loving Spanish professor. Collectivo collects beautiful handmade goods straight from the source. With these three women traveling to remote indigenous villages to meet the makers and learn about the age old traditions behind each craft, and document the hours weeks and even months that goes into making a single piece. Each region has its natural materials. Each village its specialty and each family its own take on tradition. Their mission is to share with you their love for Mexico through the artistry and stories they collect along the way and Collectivo brings you these treasures and the stories behind them. You can find Collectivo at ourcollectivo.com And on Instagram @ourcollectivo. And with that here's Vale, Jessica, and Cristina.

 

Cristina: [00:02:37] I was born in Romania and grew up in a lot of different places my parents moved around a lot. And for, I think about three years three or four years when I was super young like when I was between 3 and 6 we lived on a government-owned sheep farm because it was communist then and my parents had both studied animal husbandry.

 

[00:03:02] So my dad managed the sheep farm. So I would watch like the shearing of the sheep that they would do en masse like just get all the sheep into the little tiny corral and you know people just pin it down and shear it and it was, it seemed terrifying to me at the time because I was so young and they would just watch these little sheep kind of struggling but it happened all the time constantly so it was just something that I would always see and my parents didn't really work with wool, my mom didn't knit and they didn't really do anything but my grandma did.

 

Cristina: [00:03:33] So it was it didn't seem like something special at the time but now that I think back on it I just have really nice memories of her you know knitting socks with the little four needles and I wish now that I had had her teach me how to do that stuff but it just all seemed like a normal part of how we grew up. And I think now living in a super modern existence, in Romania things were just so old school like we used oil lamps and I would clean oil lamps with my grandpa and they would just knit things and now I have internet and lights and stuff and thinking back on it just like Man I feel like I grew up in the 1800s you know doing all this super super old school stuff not because we were trying to be off-the-grid or trying to live like that but because that's how people lived and still do in a lot of communities.

 

Cristina: [00:04:27] So then I emigrated to the states with my parents when I was 10 and it was a huge change because I'd never seen escalators or super super white toilets so it was a really big shift and learning English was tough and we were my sister and I were in English as a Second Language classes. This is in Dallas, Texas.

 

Cristina: [00:04:51] So we moved to the States and just started kind of only making friends with Mexican kids at school since they were the only ones in our class. And Spanish is so much more similar to Romanian than English is. So we started picking up Spanish more quickly than we were learning English and my parents heard my sister and I talking at home in Spanish sometimes and they were like Oh no no no we need to pull the girls out of ESL classes and have them learn English because that's not going to get them anywhere.

 

Cristina: [00:05:25] Little did they know that we'd be working with things in Mexico. Yeah but that was my first introduction to Spanish and as I went to high school and college I started studying it in school and found that I was just so interested in literature and it was just a really amazing way to connect with cultures that that was kind of my first connection with it.

 

Cristina: [00:05:46] And I was like oh I guess it could just major in this and did and now and then went back and got my master's degree and now I teach Spanish at a college here. It's a great job just to be able to be creative and travel to places and bring those stories back into the classroom. So I feel like this project that we're doing after meeting Jessica and Vail and deciding to join forces and I'm kind of the Spanish helper person. The reason that I joined this project was because my next door neighbor works with Jessica and he just called me up one day and said, hey my boss is looking to go to Mexico to do this project. And he explained it to me really briefly and said she needs help. With somebody who speaks Spanish to help her talk to artisans and do this thing. Would you be interested. And I was like Absolutely.

 

Cristina: [00:06:42] But a week and a half later we were on a plane together. Yeah. And he was like, are you sure. Do you want to take a second to think about it and call me back and I was like No to travel to Mexico and talk to people that are making things and come back and bring those things and share these stories. That's a dream come true. So we just met and then a week later we were on a flight to Mexico. Yeah. So it's been just an incredible journey. That's a year long now. We went to Mexico for the first time in March after I met Jessica and we've built some really amazing relationships.

 

Vail: [00:07:20] I have such a reflective sort of entry point into making and I think the reason is you know growing up in the 1980s in the United States with baby boomer parents. Sort of this middle class suburban upbringing where things were not made at all in my house and not only were they not made things were not even things that we consumed or owned were never even sort of talked about in terms of their origin. And so I think that I've sort of been living an awakening like around just sort of where things come from and to be honest it started about the time that we we bought this farm and it's just really been this sort of geyser of awakening. I don't think it's unique to me. I think there's a lot of people that are in that same process. Lots of places in the United States and maybe around the world and other places that have sort of did away with making because that was sort of seen as not being sophisticated or classy to make things which is I think what my parents like growing up in a blue collar family and then sort of making it to the middle class making things were sort of something you didn't do anymore. But of course my grandmother knit and we had some blankets that she knit for my parents.

 

Vail: [00:08:51] And they had sort of been hanging over our couch in our den for my entire childhood. And so anytime my brother and I would watch TV or be 1980s kids, Ghostbusters you know we'd have them over us. But fast forward a little bit, and it's it's now I'm in a period of thinking about knitting and and when I was pregnant with Huckleberry my mom shipped me a bunch of wool blankets and a few quilts that my great grandmother had made and my mom had made. And I remember sort of opening this box. I was like seven months pregnant, and just sort of thinking, how wonderful to have these handmade objects again in my life and it just carried so much nostalgia and memory for something I didn't even live. So it was almost like nostalgia for a time that I wasn't even a part of. And then my partner who is from England his mom sort of was a child of World War II and grew up darning and knitting everything. And immediately you know with Huckleberry and then Poppy she started sending sweaters. Homemade, knit sweaters and now we have a staff of about 20 or 25 the most beautiful gems that you know.

 

Vail: [00:10:08] And sort of, I hope she'll forgive me for saying this but the colors are all off and they're you know they're kind of they feel like they were knit 50 years ago. But she's knitting them now and they're beautiful. And I just I feel so happy when I put them on them and we walk around the playground and we always get comments. Where did you get that sweater? And just the pride for me like sort of that again that awakening process to making people are making the most beautiful wonderful things knitting these beautiful wonderful things and being able to say it like you know their grandmother makes all of these.

 

Vail: [00:10:43] So yeah it's been really fun to think about making and darning and visible mending. I've been really paying attention now to visible mending and I own a sewing machine. My father gave me a very nice sewing machine when I was 18 and it's been sitting in my closet for 15 years. My goal for this year one of my new year's resolutions was to make a quilt for each one of the kids my mom's a quilter. I just feel like perked up to all of these ways. All these things I feel like I missed out but I get to sort of re-entry with this project into thinking about sort of slow fashion. And I just have become really wildly interested in it.

 

Jessica: [00:11:25] So I grew up in Santa Barbara in California and my mom was French. My father was American and I grew up kind of contrasting the two families that I came from. My American family was, they were immigrants, they kind of made it. And I think a lot of making it in America at that point was about rejecting the earthy and the homemade and that was when women were getting sold all those wonderful kitchen gadgets. And I just remember thinking about my American grandparents kitchen which I thought was amazing where everything was in a little package and there were little chips in little packages. And she would make Betty Crocker potatoes au gratin. And they were freeze dried and there was a little powder that went out and it all seems so clean and tidy.

 

Jessica: [00:12:20] And contrasting that with my own family which the kitchen was run by my mom which was so earthy and I always had weird sandwiches that were big husky brown bread with like bloody slices of lamb and I would bring that to school and no one would ever want to trade lunches with me. And going back to France in the summer where my grandparents were and they lived on a farm which wound up being what I fell in love with after all and not the little packets of chips. But it was always just big piles of dirty vegetables on the table and people would bring back by eggs that have a little bit of poop on them and milk in big buckets and just contracting the two cultures was fascinating and I think very formative for me. I think that's how I became who I am. And we now live on a farm as well and I really appreciate dirty vegetables and poopy eggs.

 

[00:13:19] And I think my first fiber story was when we would go back to France my grandma would make the beds and this was linen and not wool but those sheets were amazing to me they were they were heavy and a little bit scratchy and hand-embroidered and she would wash them and dry them outside and then iron them with lavender water and the feeling of those sheets and the story that I learned later about those sheets about how a hundred years ago or so in France when a little girl would be born they would plant the fields of linen or hemp and then weave the sheets as she grew up and then embroider the sheets and it would be missing everything but the man's initial.

 

[00:14:13] And so it would have her initials and all the flowers and then she'd meet the boy and they'd add on that and then that would be her hope chest and the slowness of that kind of really attracted me.

 

Sponsor: [00:14:30] Shepherd's Dream has been mastering the art of making pure and organic wool bedding for over 30 years. Sarah Sunshine and her mother Eliana Jantz pioneered bringing natural bedding back into our homes. And what began in 1984 as a dream grew into what today is now known as Shepherd's Dream. Born from a passion for healthy and natural sleep with the commitment to using the highest quality organic materials Shepherd's Dream offers a unique wool bed system that will allow your body to breathe while you sleep. Keeping you in the perfect temperature zone all year round. The wool bed helps to relieve body aches and pains including arthritis while calming your heart rate and nervous system for a deeply restorative night sleep. You can hear more about the Shepherd's Dream journey in Episode 84 of the Woolful Podcast and you can find Shepherd's Dream and all their products as shepherdsdream.com and follow along on Instagram @shepherdsdream.

 

Jessica: [00:15:28] I went for a super memorable trip to Mexico when I was 11 with my parents and my French uncle. And it just stuck with me. And after my father passed away I went on my own to Mexico for a couple weeks and that just made me love it again more.

 

Jessica: [00:15:45] It just has a special place in my heart. It's a country that I really admire the culture of, the collective culture. I feel like we suffer a bit from our individualism here and there's something relaxing I think and kind of soft about wearing the same thing as all your friends. And there aren't fashion decisions. Instead you're wearing something that's sort of a sign of your tribe and your people and comes from the land that you grew up on. When we travel back to Mexico and we watch people making the crafts the ease and skill is kind of mind boggling doing these incredibly ornate embroidery techniques or weaving or pottery but just they're just sort of viscerally innate and loving that and feeling sad about our plastic culture and our mass-produce culture and how much that's been lost for so many of us here. And the beauty of being part of a community. There's so much I think stress on the nuclear family in our culture. There's so much, the couple is sort of everything and there it's that tension is spread out. I think you go out at night and you see all the women together and all the men together and all the kids together and the old people are out in the streets and they're together and we're sort of closed up a little bit more in our houses and I think that there's a lot to learn from that too. So so I just wanted to share that with the American public and help them learn about a culture that I think can learn a lot from.

 

Jessica: [00:17:29] So it started by me coming to work one day and telling Stephen who's Cristina's friend. Oh my gosh I'm so excited, I have this idea and he said oh, you should talk to Cristina and we had coffee maybe a day or two later and then about a week later we were on the plane to Mexico. And we traveled all over and I had collected things over the years that I had bought in Mexico without really knowing where in Mexico they were from. And it turns out that as part of that collective culture each village sort of has its traditional craft so you can show people a scarf and they can tell you Oh that's from this particular village. So we would just drive into these villages where we knew that these various things that I'd collected were from and just get out of our rental car and within half an hour we'd be inside somebodies living room who made it learning about it. So that was the start.

 

Cristina: [00:18:26] Yeah it was such an adventure just taking a scarf and being like little detectives trying to figure out exactly what spot it came from. And it's a little bit nerve wracking driving into a town and being like. All right. We'll just park the car and walk into the main square and show this thing to someone and say Do you know who might make this in this town and we would be in their house in 10 minutes surrounded by you know five to ten ladies and they'd be like oh yeah my grandma makes this or my aunt makes this. And somebody would run and get this person or they would take us to a different house and just pull out bags of these beautiful things and show us and then it's just so incredible meeting people in this way that's kind of sudden for them and for us but really really interesting and we've stayed in touch with a lot of these artisans and have gone back and visited about three times. So over the last year we've built these really incredible relationships with families that this is all they do.

 

Cristina: [00:19:30] And so it's just so cool to see them and then be friends with families and have gone back to visit them in the last year. That feels really really special to bring back their stuff and show the stuff to people other people like me in the States that have never even seen some of these beautiful textiles.

 

Vail: [00:19:49] I think some of us like the dream of it all is really rooted in a lot of what Jessica said. And then it just continues to expand. It's a really iterative emergent process. And you know when you when you're there in Mexico and you just sort of meet these women and you end up going back to their small village and they take you into their house and show you their backstrap loom and immediately sit down and start combing you know freshly sort of harvested wool and then they're sitting down outside just weaving these really magical beautiful blankets that they wear.

 

Vail: [00:20:31] You know they're this is like they've been doing for generation upon generation and often within a visit you meet the grandmother and you know the husband and wife and children and the sister and you know the uncle and they're all there and sort of everyone's a part of the process making. It's not just women's work or man's work it's sort of a family project and a community project in many ways. To see the backstrap loom and to see that just the attention to detail and just the incredible effort that goes into it from keeping the sheep and shearing them themselves. We watched a family just shear sheep with what we would consider to be pretty inexpensive scissors and just like shearing an entire sheep with scissors that I feel like probably aren't sharp enough to like really they're just doing it with such precision and such speed. It's shocking and really just amazing.

 

Cristina: [00:21:26] All of these things are super traditional and they're an art that people have been doing for centuries and it's a lot of the same designs that people have been making for a very very long time. But they still feel super modern to us. And that's really really cool to have a poncho or a throw that has little tassels that are really really brightly colored. But the poncho is just the grays and the browns and the natural colors of the sheep that they raise. Just this combination that to me it looks like some really cool hip hipster store kind of thing. But it's the same thing that people wear in these small villages and it's really cool that they can love the same aesthetic that we also love here. So to feel like oh a lot of the color combinations that I think are beautiful, you also think are beautiful and I think that that was a pleasant surprise for me because sometimes being from Romania I'll go back home and I feel like having been more Americanized, I'll see things there that I'm like that's just not really my vibe or it feels so different. And I don't feel just things aren't don't seem as basically beautiful. And it seems like people have just mastered the art of they know exactly what goes well together and what patterns are stunning. And we agree. It's cool.

 

Jessica: [00:23:02] I mean that was the, I'm an interior designer again and I had been traveling back and forth to Mexico and I was buying things because they are amazing and beautiful. Yeah in particular I think we have these pillows that are from Chiapas that are from the same place that the wrap is from that Cristina was talking about. And the wools are natural, just the color of the sheep and then they just have these hot fuchsia and red and orange kind of graphic embroidery over the top of them and they tie in the back with these fuchsia ties. And I just think they're amazing, they're so luscious and fancy looking and I feel like they do translate. Things that they make feel bold and modern and sort of cutting-edge here. So that's kind of fun because it's such this particular village in Chiapas, San Juan Chamula is such a foreign place it is so culturally different.

 

Cristina: [00:24:08] We've gone to several different states and the hills of Chiapas are the place that we get the bulk of our things. There are a lot more communities that have indigenous people there that are preserving their way of life that has been like that for centuries so it's I guess a little bit less I guess modernized is the right word. It's a bigger part of the indigenous culture there. A lot of these communities are of their choosing pretty closed off to outsiders which I think is a good thing. It's nice for us to be able to go in there and visit with families and have them show us how they raise their sheep and how they process everything.

 

Cristina: [00:24:53] But they are, I can tell a little wary of outsiders and just kind of wanting to be more isolated and not have our influence. Which is kind of a beautiful thing. They're just, we always go in there with so many questions and we're so curious and asking them Well how many sheep do you have. How do you choose the colors of all these things. And they're just like, they're telling us really matter of fact you know we have this many brown sheep we have this white sheep and we use these little leaves that we gather from the forest and then we make this black dye but they never have any questions for us.

 

Jessica: [00:25:28] There was a really deep feeling that their story is enough. That they are that they have what they need and that they're kind of complete. I think with all of our curiosity and it's also a sense of longing and and exploring, and they're just not longing or exploring there

 

Cristina: [00:25:48] Yes I think when you're when you just see the same people every day a lot of people are wearing the same exact thing that's really specific to your town and your parents and your grandparents and your great-grandparents have been doing the same thing.

 

Cristina: [00:26:02] Somehow that makes people not as much. Yeah like there's no reason to know where we're from really. Right. They know that they're never coming here they have no desire to be in my town and it's just this nice thing of like they just want to talk to us and have us be around and that's pleasant enough. They want to share their food with us. They make us delicious meals that is just so special and it feels really welcoming and really loving but not with this curiosity you know and I think it's just a beautiful way of life to live in the country and have everything that you need and not be craving stuff from the outside.

 

Jessica: [00:26:47] It's interesting to me how proud and poised and just deeply peaceful people that we've met are. They they just are rooted in their community and their family and their belief system. We're wanting to do a lecture series and we had our first speaker who was a beautiful speaker, his name's Eric Mindling and he's been living in Oaxaca studying textiles and pottery for the last 25 years and his talk was sort of based around the premise of what can the tumbleweed being us North Americans learn from the sagebrush these indigenous cultures that are just so deeply rooted. And my husband was telling me this morning have you guys planned your trip and are you sure people are going to be there and then he was laughing like they're not there they're going to be there and they're just home.

 

Vail: [00:27:43] So I think that we've we've really voyaged and we've found these beautiful wool objects and you know recycled hand-hammered copper cups and these handmade rich textiles and I think also what we've really worked towards and try to respect is their life existing there and they want to happily exist there and we want to sort of have a glimpse at it but we also just want to sort of share that story here in the United States with as many people as we can.

 

Vail: [00:28:14] And I think Collectivo is trying to be really attentive to and mindful of sort of the overarching larger sort of global mess that we're in in the sense that we want to celebrate the craft and we want to really support. I mean this craft right wherever we can and right now right for us that's really these Mexican makers. So we've had these experiences that we're grateful for. And yet we're also really it's really important for us to also think about like leaving no trace, right. And be aware of cultural appropriation and these other sort of layers that that are there. Like we're not ignorant to the interaction and the journey. And to be honest our main philosophy I think is rooted in sharing that story of Mexican makers here in the United States and really countering the negative stereotypes of Mexicans.

 

Cristina: [00:29:14] Yeah but a big part of what we're doing and what we're excited about is just kind of sharing the stuff that we're learning. We're learning so much every time we travel down there and it's really incredible stuff. So the reason that we take so many photos and do so many videos and all these things together is because it's so much cooler if you buy something and you're touching it and it feels you can see the amount of talent that went into it. But then seeing somebodies face and saying watching them work on it just makes it that much more special.

 

Vail: [00:29:45] One thing we picked up that we've I mean just is so small but so symbolically powerful is in the little shops in the some of the larger towns that we go to. If you're buying a wool blanket or a embroidered pillow the tag will often tell you how long it took the maker to make it. And not every place but there are a bunch of places and we've carried that back here with us. Because I think it's a real sort of fabulously simple way to create new rhetoric around how how long did this take to make so now when we're talking with people will say oh you really love this blanket. And it took six weeks for this maker to make it. Right or we have some beautiful ponchos made out of wool and then embroidered with beautifully colored contrasting wool colors and some of them have made taken you know three four months to make a single item. And wow. Like could you could you just own this poncho for the rest of your life. You know that that's that's what's amazing about it is I think they get it.

 

Cristina: [00:30:57] Yeah. To kind of know the backstory and to know that this, it's one family that makes all this stuff and it's the mom and the daughter that work on it. And it's just so cool to to have that to have those be married to have like the actual object and the visuals and the story behind it. So part of what were doing with Collectivo was trying to share this on Instagram with you know having not just things for sale but also a story of a person that made it and that's part of I think the fashion revolution that's happening now in the States is a lot of people are starting to ask you know who made my clothing. And we're trying to share that part of the story too. This is a human. It wasn't a machine. This is a person who has her daughter by her side that's working all day and they're wearing the same important woven shirt that every single woman in that town wears. And it's cool to see that.

 

Vail: [00:31:55] So I think we're doing things around specifically around Mexico and makers in Mexico. But I think we're also trying to just chip in as much as we can into what all knitters everywhere are doing which is slowing down the consumption of clothing. And there's a professor so I'm a professor of cultural studies and there's another professor at the University in environmental studies who teaches a class called The Invisible Suffering Of Fashion and the entire class is just really about the fashion industry being one of the most harmful industries to the planet. And yet we just can't stop consuming and buying clothes that don't fit us just because we like them. And getting rid of things regularly and owning hundreds of items of clothing. So you know one thing I've been doing recently sort of obnoxiously is just sort of asking people how many pieces of clothes you own. Like we don't even know anymore there's so many, that people can't guess. And I think when we are you know thinking about these artisanal objects and we're thinking about wow took a long time to make.

 

Jessica: [00:33:02] Something so nice happened yesterday. I am an interior designer and we went and met some new potential clients and we were upstairs in their bedroom and I saw one of our Collectivo bags hanging out the doorknob. It made me so happy. And she had come to our pop-up sale and I she didn't know me and I didn't know her and that she had you know it had it had marked her and moved her and she'd thought about it and she is somebody you can ask how many pieces of clothing she has. They're absolute minimalists. She has very little she thinks about each thing she owns. And that was beautiful I think that she chose one of our bags as one of her very few items so that was, that made me happy.

 

Vail: [00:33:48] The makers in these these places are making the most beautiful wonderful things and they have a high quality of life in terms of their emotional closeness with their family. But I think it'd be remiss to also just sort of look at sort of the struggle that's there too which is how right which is an ancient struggle which is the preservation of culture versus the influence of continually globalized world. Whether we like it or not we are in a globalized economy and there are communities that you know are not as globalized as others. But as we move forward right the difficult questions around money. Right. And it's a fine line to walk between sort of glamorizing or romanticizing rural life without also talking of struggle and money is always going to matter. So I think you know I think we talked about this as well which is just how do we be focused on education and really focus on sort of introducing the U.S. public to this multiplicity of stories around Mexico and Mexicans to counter that that other narrative. Without also saying that we're actually being also quite functional as well in the sense that we're not buying mass amounts of things but we are now supporting quite a few families with our influence of sort of saying we'd like to buy 30 blankets or 100 pillows and it's very small scale but not to them. So I think that we're we're sort of both and we're we're trying to be, I'm sure we're making mistakes, but we are trying to make it much more non-profit without the, obviously we're not interested in saving, we don't think we can save. You know but we are, there is support.

 

Jessica: [00:35:33] I think incidentally it is a helpful mutual exchange. Oh, yes of course. So I think in Chiapas many of the villages are more established and traditions are not being lost. The speaker that we had recently who is based in Oaxaca, of a neighboring state. Many things are being lost. And I think that there is a real value to an outside acknowledgement of the value of that. And I mean young people are leaving the villages to go to Mexico City to get jobs. So I think they would rather not and if they can stay in their villages and continue their traditions.

 

Jessica: [00:36:14] So our mission is definitely not saving anybody. It's more educational. But I think a byproduct is a positive mutual benefit. Definitely. I mean this Huayapam where where Cristina went, this was where we wound up meeting you know in their living room but it's been I think we have done some good things in that community. I mean the next time Cristina showed up they slaughtered a turkey and made a gigantic mole feast for her. Which is really sweet. So I think it has definitely been mutually beneficial.

 

Spanish Thank You: [00:36:59] Para mi lo más increíble has sido a conocer a todas las familias y aprender un poquito mas o mucho mas de su cultura. O ser de sus tradiciones. Y de todo lo que han hecho por generaciones. Y estas viajes con mis nuevas compañeras. Ha sido a veces difíciles pero por lo general algo totalmente increíble y piensa que es una experiencia para todas nosotras que nos ha enseñado mucho y también que nos ayuda enseñar a otras personas aquí en Los Estados Unidos. Y nos sentimos muy agradecidas por haber a ver conocido a tantas familias y a tantas artesanas talentosos. Gracias.

 

Thank You Translation: For me the most incredible thing has been to know all the families and to learn a little or a lot more about their cultures, their traditions, and everything they have made for generations, and the trips with my new companions. It has been difficult sometimes but usually something totally incredible and I think that it is an experience that has taught all of us a lot, and which will also help us to teach other people here in the United States.  We are very grateful to have seen so many families and so many talented artisans. Thank you.

 

Ashley: [00:38:06] The biggest of thanks to everyone involved in this week's episode: The Yarn Collective, Shepherd's Dream, and Collectivo, and our producer Alice Anderson. I hope you'll join me each week as we talk and learn from more fascinating makers. For podcast notes and transcription visit makingzine.com.

 

Ashley: [00:38:20] This week we're giving away a sweaters worth of Moeke Yarns Elena Gray, and a copy of our first Making issue No 1. FLORA. To enter this giveaway leave a comment on today's episode's blog post at makingzine.com. Just a little update: We've got lots of great things in our shop at makingzine.com. Subscriptions for Making 2018 which includes issue No.5 COLOR And No.6 BLACK & WHITE are available along with the entire line of Moeke Yarns. And available for pre-order is UNIFORM and UNIFORM LITTLE. A knit and sew collaboration between Carrie Hoge and Grainline Studio. And if you're a shop looking wholesale you can find No. 5 COLOR and the UNIFORM books on our wholesale site. If you're interested being a part of this podcast as an episode or giveaway sponsor shoot us an email at ashley@makingzine.com. Have a wonderful week.

 

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