Can you each briefly explain where you are from, your background and why you were drawn to working with MZ?
Susann: Through my studies of Fashion Design in Berlin, Germany, I found myself interested in learning more about the artisanal fair trade movement. I see old craftsmanship as an essential basis for future fashion. When I came across Manos Zapotecas, I immediately fell in love with the beauty the weavers were creating. Working with people who practice the ancient handicraft techniques is an opportunity for me to learn from local artisans and empower them with my knowledge in return.
Miriam: I live in Stockholm, Sweden, but I am originally from a small town up north. Always fascinated by textiles, I've spent the last three years studying weaving and needle work at a very old school called Handarbetets Vänner/Friends of Handicraft in Stockholm. After my graduation I wanted to travel and gain more knowledge and inspiration about handmade textiles for everyday use.The colors and textile traditions of Oaxaca had enchanted me for a long time. When I found Manos Zapotecas, I just knew it was the perfect opportunity.
What was the title and topics covered in this workshop?
Susann: The theme of the workshop was "Design and Color." On the first day we covered topics including the theory of layout and design and as well as the color wheel, and how that can be use to create harmonic color schemes. Day One of the workshop was a lot of fundamental theory, and on the following day we offered opportunities to put these theories into effect.
Miriam: On the second day, we only had practical tasks; first finding objects in the house and garden and then tracing them on paper with crayons. Then we created mood boards, and after that, everyone got to draw designs with inspiration from their mood boards.
Susann: At the end every designer was able to present their own design, considering layout, color and expressions.
Miriam: Everyone took these exercises very seriously, and what was supposed to be a four-hour workshop took the whole day!
What was the main goal and do you think this was accomplished?
Miriam: The main goal was to remind the weavers of certain "rules" when designing. Not hard and fast rules, but helpful reminders, to use when you get stuck creating a design for example. We hope they can look back to the workshop material we made to support their design process and color selection. We had good discussions during and after each part of the workshop, so I know these ideas will stay with them.
Are there any highlights you can share?
Susann: We were overwhelmed by their motivation and their willingness to learn. Everyone was patient and concentrated, and we were really impressed with the work the weavers were sharing with us. It was truly a harmonic and fun atmosphere.
Miriam: I'd say the highlight has been the sharing of ideas and thoughts, and a mutual feeling of respect of each other's knowledge. We were honored that they could take time in their very tight schedules to actually both play and be serious for two days!