Meet the Artisan

Eustacia Antonio Mendoza

Sitting in a petate (bedroll) or in a small wood bench, with a mecapal (a strip of ixtle fabric to load bundles on the back) on her waist and a loom held on a tree or pole, counting threads and designing diverse clothes in a multicolor mosaic, women of all ages participate in this common scene in the village of Santo Tomas Jalieza, located in the Valles Centrales region. 

One of them is Eustacia Antonio Mendoza. Her history as a weaver begins during her infancy but consolidates when she sees a sash with an antique design that in her village was no longer seen or remembered. She learned to design and weave with a really thin fine thread with her husband’s family, but when her sister in law showed her a picture of a sash that she saw in Mexico City, she became interested in recreating the designs, that with time she perfected. She specialized in sashes that were used to wrap the enredo (skirt) of the traditional dressing, the only piece that has been preserved. 

Sashes have been a tradition from generation to generation and they are emblematic from Santo Tomas, although now its use and design has changed. Eustacia tells us that in ancient times there was an exchange system in which they trade this pieces for countryside products in San Antonio village; she mentions that during that time very few people weave in waist loom: cotton was sown, carded, spun and dyed by hand. Depending on the color, they identified the village that it belonged, red or cherry sashes were from this community, and the width of the sash represented the women`s age. 

Currently, in this village sashes of different colors and decorations are being made, many of them with different symbolic meanings: the feather dancer, animals, flowers, geometric figures, two-headed eagles and mermaids; and with diverse techniques: simple or with ward carving, brocade or double-woven fabric. From this technique, they began creating different types of pieces: centerpieces, bags, backpacks, cup holders, bracelets, waistcoats, shawls, napkins, belts combined with leather, table runners, and rugs.Eustacia makes them with pure cotton and silk, and specializes also in making rugs and bags of thin fine thread and minimal, traditional, and detailed designs with a lifting and smashing technique that allows the figures to be appreciated from both sides. 

She has more than a hundred figures that are made in a great variety of colors and combinations, standing out beige, cherry, green and different shades of blue, all created out of natural dyes: indigo, pomegranate, and walnut. 

Aside from many awards, in 2009 she was awarded 3rd place in the 6th National Contest of Great Popular Art Masterpieces “Living Legends”, in the miniature textile range, with a fine cotton silk rug with beige art. It was weaved in three parts and it has 510 designs, all in the same level. The design are images that represent the kids at her community, and in order to elaborate this masterpiece, the artist required five looms.

Eustacia Antonio Mendoza collection

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