Spring is in the air, and there's no better time to give your space a refresh. You know us as a handbag brand, but every year around this time we bring you a special limited edition line of home goods - for 2022, we created a gorgeous line of handwoven pillow covers in color stories inspired by Oaxacan architecture. These beauties will warm up your home, studio, or office with all the sunny vibes you've been dreaming of as you thaw out from the winter months.
For the second year in a row, we partnered with Du Kua, a collective made up of eight indigenous women artisans. Du Kua means "dyed threads" in the Zapotec language.
Du Kua founded their group in 2018, after meeting at gatherings hosted by the non-profit foundation En Vía, and discovering that they were all passionate about working with natural dyes. During these En Vía sessions, a trustful space was created for the sharing of ideas, recipes and materials. After some time, a philosophy and collective way of working was born. Each woman brings her unique perspective and talent to the table, without hierarchy. It is a truly inspired and egalitarian way of working together, and it shows in their exquisite artistry.
Inspiration + Colors
Oaxaca is MAGICAL. There is no other place like it in the world, with its mix of a thriving indigenous culture, world-renowned cuisine, ethereal landscapes, ancient ruins, prolific artistry, and our inspiration for this line - the colorful architecture that has a vibrant life of its own.
We are absolutely in love with the modern interpretation of traditional Zapotec designs, and the enchanting colors achieved using all natural dyes. The blue and turquoise tones were created by transforming pigments from the indigo plant, and the warmer tones come from walnut (nuez), Cochineal, pomegranate (granada), and wild marigold (pericón).
Niltepec, a small village on the coast, is the only place in all of Oaxaca where indigo is produced. The pericón grows wild, and is mostly harvested by climbing a small hill in Oaxaca called the Picacho. There are pomegranate trees growing in the central valleys of Oaxaca; the dyes are derived from the rind, which is collected over time as the fruit falls naturally from the trees. The walnut is not native to Oaxaca, but its use has became popular for natural dyeing and most artisans have one or two small trees growing in their patios. They use the leaves of the tree and when necessary, they buy nuts to produce stronger chocolate tones.
Cochineal (or grana cochinilla in Spanish) are insects that nest on nopal cactus. The acid within the nopal has a chemical reaction within the insect that creates the vibrant red color. After being harvested and dried, the artisans use an ancient stone grinder called a metate to crush them into a fine powder. This is then added to the dye vat in order to achieve various colorfast shades of reds, pinks and wine. Over 60 different hues can be achieved using this technique!
The collection is made up of 12 pieces in 4 sizes and 3 distinct color stories that can easily be mixed and matched. For the largest pillow cover, measuring 22" x 22", we recreated the most popular design pattern of last year's line. (You asked, we listened!)
Each piece is handwoven from start to finish with premium wool, and includes a 100% cotton backing with a hidden zipper closure.
Used by the Zapotecs for centuries, wool is biodegradable, renewable, and breathable. It naturally repels moisture, dirt, and debris, requiring less laundering than other fibers. It lasts a loooong time (and keeps getting softer!), and is easily recycled and reused. Now that's what we call magical!
Pillow inserts are not included... why, you ask? We recommend eco-friendly inserts (ethically made using natural or recycled fabrics/stuffing), but we have been unable to find these at wholesale price points that made sense for our retail pricing structure, mainly because we sell these in small batches and don’t need to purchase the wholesale inserts in huge bulk quantities. Instead, we price the covers accordingly, and give you the freedom to choose your own insert. Here's a tip for getting the fit you want: for a snug fit, choose an insert 1-2 inches larger than the pillow cover, and for a loose fit, choose an insert the same size as the pillow cover.
We hope you've enjoyed learning a bit about these beautiful pillow covers, and we know you'll be delighted if you choose to bring a bit of Oaxaca home.
The 2022 MZ Casa Collection is available for pre-order now and will start shipping on March 1st.