TEXT: ANA PAULA FUENTES
La Flor de Xochistlahuaca is a story of rescue and preservation, but also one of innovation with the goal to appeal to a broader market and consumer base.
Located in the municipality of Xochistlahuaca in southeastern Guerrero, Mexico. The cooperative was formed in 1969 but legally established on February 19, 2001. Its members, all women, make high-quality textiles, using traditional techniques and designs.
Through workshops and seminars, La Flor’s intention is to preserve the traditional craft of back-strap weaving; teach younger generations in the municipality to use natural dyes and cultivate natural white, green and brown cotton. They all have perfected and refined the art of weaving brocade, plus mastered various weaving techniques such as taffeta and variations of gauze.
The cooperative and its members are recognized in and outside Mexico by collectors, museums and experts of fine textiles thanks to Florentina López de Jesús, the late founder of the cooperative. Lopez de Jesús received numerous prizes and awards from institutions specializing in crafts such as FONART, Fomento Cultural Banamex, Feria Internacional de Artesanía FIART, La Habana Cuba, etc. She was acknowledged in the book “Grandes Maestros del Arte Popular Mexicano” published by Fomento Cultural Banamex in 1998.
For the past two years, La Flor de Xochistlahuaca has been working with the Rubin Foundation along with the Clinton Global Initiative to support the cooperative to improve the economic lives of the women.
Xochistlahuaca is an isolated indigenous community with no access to markets. The only place La Flor can sell their items is the tiny shop they have at La Casa de Las Artesanías. In addition to continuing to weaving clothing, they are trying to expand sales by creating a new line of items that keep to the traditional appeal but attract a new audience and markets.
To achieve this we have been collaborating with the natural dye textile artist and designer Maddalena Forcella and myself. We are both based in Oaxaca. During these two years of collaboration with the Rubin Foundation the cooperative now has seven new members, and created a new line of products, which have been well received by shoppers and at trunk shows in Mexico. With the profits, some of the weavers have renovated their houses and invested in their children ́s education.
To learn more, please visit https://www.facebook.com/LaFlorDeXochistlahuaca.