Inspiration from Latin America

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The embroidered textiles of Oaxaca, Mexico, are stunning in both their use of color and technique. Much of the embroidery in the region is devoted to making traje, a form of folk dress with huipiles common to the region. These huipiles are very similar to Guatemalan huipil trajes.

In fact, the huipil (pronounced we-peel) is made and worn in by indigenous Mayan, Zapotec and other women in central to southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and western Honduras, as well as in theĀ  northern part of Central America.

Often, each village or region has a specific pattern incorporated into the design, indicating the place of origin.

I’ve run across several sites featuring Latin American embroidery that are definitely worth a visit – not just for the oustanding information presented, but also for pure inspiration!

The Guaya Blog (left) has a wonderful article dedicated to the huipil, as does Allie’s in Stitches (above and below) featuring a section on Oaxacan Embroidery. Both sites featured photos of several garments worked in this lovely form of satin stitch.

Allie’s blog features some awesome closeups of the stitches including the one below, so you can see clearly how the gradual color changes create such stunning, graphic piecesĀ  – gorgeous!

Looking for more photos of embroidered huipiles? Try the Xochistlahuaca Huipil Patterns site, where you will find an entire gallery of embroidered Latin American textiles.

In this type of embroidery, the floral designs are created by filling flowers with row upon row in graduated colors of Embroidery Floss, creating shading and texture, but can also be adapted to machine embroidery with cotton thread.

And did you know that Frida Kahlo, the celebrated 20th century Mexican artist, was often photographed, or painted self-portaits, wearing brightly-colored huipiles?

Much of Frida’s work was inspired by the colors, textures and images found in Latin American textiles.

Further recommended reading includes a celebtration of the huipil, which can be found at the Latin Coalition’s web site, and showcases this gorgeous art form.

…and be sure to visit Zdenko’s Corner for more awesome photos of huipiles!




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Categories: Embroidery, Needlework, Resources Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “Inspiration from Latin AmericaComment RSS feed

  • Judy Harper
    August 13th, 2010 7:58 am

    This is a wonderful post! I’ve loved these things since I was a small child – and have had several to wear myself. What great inspiration, also, for a needle artist.

  • Joyinbloom
    August 14th, 2010 11:40 pm

    Fantastic gradual shading of the flowers, they are wonderful.

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