Doña Selerina

Country: Mexico

Three hours from the city of Oaxaca, in the remote town of San Luis Amatlán, Doña Selerina García Lucas and her group of artisan basket weavers gather palm leaves from the hills. The women dry the palms in the sun and paint them. And then, with a dexterity passed down through generations, ancestry come to life in the tireless work of fingers, the women weave the palms into vibrant, multi-colored baskets.

Each basket takes two to three hours to weave, with each artisan completing an average of three baskets per day. Once a month, Doña Selerina transports her group’s baskets to the market in Oaxaca where they are picked up by Marina Lopez, coordinator of several basket-weaving groups in the region.

For each artisan involved, basket-weaving means a stable monthly income used for building a house, starting a small business, or purchasing food and medicine. For the people of the Mixteca region, as this part of Mexico is known, basket-weaving is a way of life that also sustains life.