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The Beauty and the Bead in Mexico
So far on our Mexican journey, our days have been spent with spinners and weavers, mother-earth types, workers of the land–their bodies showing signs of their routine activities of backstrap weaving, picking cotton, tortilla making. But today this changes for we meet “The Beading Beauties”—at least that’s what I call them. So armchair travel along with ClothRoads as we wind our way through the non-tourist, highland area of Guerrero, Mexico.
It was late morning on a Sunday, when we arrived in San Jose Ejido. While we were told this area was known for its beaded embellished blouses and dresses, we really didn’t know what that meant, nor what might be open. We wandered into a tienda similar to many–small shop in front along the street, living area in the back. Here we not only found traditional style beaded blouses, we also met Adelida and Erica.
Adelida learned traditional beaded embroidery from her mother when she was 12-years-old and has been beading for 30-plus years. She taught her daughter-in-law, Erica, how to bead and now Erica makes small bags and other items too.
Beading is done on a cross-stitch cloth; the designs copied from older blouses but now they also use ones from the internet. A traditional-style blouse may take many months, as the beading is usually finer (smaller beads) and the design may use 3000 beads. Blouses are worn for special occasions—celebrations, festivals, or dances—not for every day wear.
A small beaded bag could take three to five days to complete. I didn’t count the beads on the ones they were stitching, but I can tell you they have a nice heft to the hand. And they certainly added heft to the suitcase when we brought some home to share with you. They’re beaded beauties just like their makers.