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Artisan Organization: Asuncion Perez

Country: Mexico

"I am María Asunción Perez, originally from Zinacantán, Chiapas, and I dedicate myself to creating hand-embroidered pieces.

"I have been involved with embroidery since I was very young because my grandmother practiced it. She taught my mom and between the two of them, along with my sister, they taught me. I remember that she took advantage of my free time to be able to teach me and that is how since I was a girl I grew up with the art of embroidery. Then some time passed and it wasn't until I met a girl who was studying fashion design that I took it up again. She was just beginning to make her first garments and decided to hire me in her sewing workshop. Little by little I got involved in this art again and focused on seeing and learning everything I could. There I acquired enough knowledge to make my own pieces and forge new paths. Later, a friend continued to teach me and with her, I perfected the technique. Together we decided to start a business but later we split up and each one went her own way. Now each of us does different things.

"For my part, I decided to work on my own. It has been a challenge that I never imagined achieving and of which I am very proud. My family has been a fundamental part since we work together. The designs, for example, we make as a team, although sometimes each one creates them individually. We organize ourselves from what each one knows how to do, starting with the looms, the embroidery and the construction of the desired piece.

"My niece does the embroidery by hand, my sister works with the pedal machine, and I do the assembly of the piece, which is on a machine. It is a process that goes through 3 or 4 women, and it takes us 7 to 15 days to finish a single piece. Personally, I rely on other sources to achieve what I imagine and trust in the art and profession of each member of my family.

"What we use most are cotton looms and fabrics, polyester threads and nylon threads, which are difficult to use. We buy the fabric in the city of San Cristóbal, and we put together the pattern to capture them on the fabrics and then go on to the embroidery process.

"My favorite part of making the piece is putting together the puzzle that comes out of the embroidery, because I like to combine colors and draw them in my imagination and then transfer them to the fabrics and machines.

"My inspiration comes from all those artisan women and single mothers who have been able to get ahead thanks to the art they make with their hands. My sister, for example, is my constant source of motivation, because for 23 years she and her little girl have gotten ahead thanks to her embroidery work. That is why I want to encourage support among women artisans. I like to think that through this work we can continue to generate more employment, mainly for women.

"Currently my plan is to create new accessories with embroidery and reach many more people. And my dream is to merge my Zinacanteca culture with all my pieces, because I believe that through works like this we can strengthen the language and things of our culture such as the cultivation, planting and harvesting of flowers, a constant inspiration for us artisans.""