Many types of embroidery can be found in Oaxaca, on both garments and domestic items, complementing patterns and colors that are woven into the fabric from which they are made. San Antonino Castillo Velasco, and its neighbor San Juan Chilateca, are the main pueblos within our geographical radius where this type of embroidery is created. The garments for which these pueblos are best known are called “wedding dresses.”  Generally made from white cotton, they are flowing (unwaisted) dresses (or blouses) with elaborately embroidered decoration on the yolk, short (occasionally long) sleeves and front segments. In addition to embroidery, these garments have crocheted portions around the arm section and neckline, and  “hazme si puedes” (literally translated as “make me if you can”).  This is a horizontal row of human figures embroidered in the smocked segment of the garment, just under the yolk. Artists range in quality from the most outstanding – those who produce merely a few elaborately embroidered dresses or blouses per year – to more commercial artisans whose decoration is far simpler, and omits some of the elements considered crucial by the finer embroiderers.  One clear indication of quality is the degree of delicacy and clarity of the “hazme si puedes.”  Prices vary widely according to the excellence of this and other features of the work.



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The PBS Peabody award winning documentary series "Craft in America" filmed portions of two excellent upcoming programs in Oaxaca, one -- "Neighbors" -- partially in collaboration with FOFA. These programs explore connections through craft between Mexico and the United States.

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Oaxacan Popular Arts in the New Millennium, Nurturing Young Artists

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