Artisan Benedita

Benedita has been weaving baskets with palm for almost 50 years, starting when she was thirteen. Hers is a family business, as she works alongside her mother, two sisters, and a cousin.

Benedita is from the community of San Luis Amatlán, a traditional village dedicated to subsistence farming and weaving palm. Benedita says that not many villagers still weave, as most have migrated for work.

Her and her husband now live in the capital city of Oaxaca, where Benedita has a little stand to sells her bags. In addition to selling her products, she teaches her craft to others. She says her students often find it more difficult than they'd imagined, as the palm is so delicate. 

Benedita and her family use royal palm in their work, which comes from the Sola de Vega, a village nestled in the mountain range to the south. Prior to weaving, she has to split the palm with her fingers, a task which takes about an hour per large palm frond. She can weave a tote in one day, or a few small clutches in the same time. 

Benedita says she most enjoys weaving the clutches and wallets, which require a very fine, technical weave. She says people ask for all sorts of styles of bags, which gives her a laugh because most of the time the ideas are impossible.

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