Bring Oaxaca Home
You know us as a handbag brand, but once in a while we like to venture into new territory and explore other beautiful artisan made items from Oaxaca. For the past couple of years, you've asked us for handwoven home decor, and we listened! We partnered with Du Kua, an indigenous women artisans' collective, and created this very special limited edition line of pillow covers and small rugs. We are absolutely in love with the modern interpretation of traditional Zapotec designs, and the enchanting colors achieved using all natural dyes. Most of all, we are so happy to share it with you, so you can bring a little piece of Oaxaca home!
We caught up with our Design Manager in Oaxaca, Ana Cris, to learn more about the creative process behind the collection.
What was the inspiration for this line?
The natural world, specifically in Oaxaca and Teotitlan, and the desire to keep working with natural dyes. Every time I have contact with other artisans I find the world of natural colors exciting, surprising and incredible. I think it is a mixture of an alchemical, traditional, natural and mathematical world. I have a great admiration for artisans who decide to take a path that is uncertain, complex, and challenging in order to follow the ideal of using the colors that nature offers us.
Can you describe the creative process?
Developing this line was exciting because I really wanted to work with other products besides handbags. I love our bags, but for me it’s inspiring to expand our collections. To design this line I played with the traditional patterns and zoomed in on different areas, resulting in geometric shapes that keep the integrity of the traditional designs but are manifested in a contemporary style.
Tell us more about the beautiful natural dyes used.
The colors emerged from a visit to a workshop held by our artisan partners. It is very inspiring to visit their workshops; they explain about their experiments and the ingredients they use for color making. I love that they each have their own recipes and ways to get a color. For me it is something similar to preparing food in the kitchen; each person has their own unique way of doing it, but it all turns out delicious. The colors we selected were complex. Most took two dye baths and a lot of patience. The artisans used indigo and pericon to get all the blue and turquoise tones; for the warm tones they used walnut shell, cochineal grana, pomegranate and black zapote.
Niltepec is the only place in all of Oaxaca where indigo is produced, it is a small town near the coast. Almost all artisans buy it from there. The pericon grows in the field, they climb to the slopes of the Picacho to collect. The pomegranate tree grows easily in the central valleys of Oaxaca, it is common to find them walking through the center. The shell is used, they collect it over time. The walnut is not native to Oaxaca, but its use has became popular and most artisans have one or two small trees in their patios. They use the leaves of the tree and when necessary, they buy nuts to obtain stronger tones. The black zapote is a fruit and they use it when it is still green to achieve a yellowish-brown tone. For our production it was necessary to have almost 3 buckets of zapote!
Can you tell us more about Du Kua, the artisan collective we partnered with for this line?
Du Kua is a collective of 9 indigenous women artisans. They decided to join together because they were all interested in preserving the use of natural dyes in their work process. They know that this practice requires much more effort, time and money than anilines. They do it to follow the traditions that their mothers and grandmothers taught them. The whole process of meeting them, introducing them to MZ and developing this line was very interesting. 10 strong-minded women trying to reach an agreement is not easy, but definitely enriching. The effort resulted in a beautiful line!
What is your favorite item from the collection?
The Rio Rug! I love that range of colors together, and I like that the design is not symmetrical and that it still maintains a geometric-traditional style.
We hope you've enjoyed learning about the process behind the new Limited Edition MZ Casa Collection. The line is available for pre-order now and will start shipping in early March.