Mexico boasts an astonishing array of artisan products – from stunning silver jewellery in Taxco, Guerrero, to colourful Huichol-style beaded sculptures from the central state of Durango, and intricate Tenango embroidery from Hidalgo. Today, skilled artisans continue to create products that embody Mexico’s rich cultural history and keep diverse indigenous traditions alive.
However, despite Mexico’s reputation for world-class artisan products, many sellers rely on tourists and foot trade to sell their wares. This really limits the number of people who are able to see, learn about, and buy these exquisite products.
San Luis Amatlán
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, artisans in the tiny village of San Luis Amatlán, 100km south of Oaxaca City in southwestern Mexico, mostly relied on selling their baskets in markets around the region. This meant traveling long distances and working long hours to sell their baskets to tourists and local buyers, but it also meant people got to meet the artisans and buy their baskets. Then, the pandemic decimated this line of trade.
The Artisan Partnership is bridging this gap and is helping these craftspeople continue to create traditional baskets that look beautiful in every modern home. In fact, close collaborations between our UK- and Mexico-based teams has created a global marketplace for artisan products and created new sources of income for the basket weavers of San Luis Amatlán.
Our 100% handmade baskets are produced using palm leaf fibres, which are a natural by-product of farming in the Oaxaca region of Mexico. In San Luis Amatlán, a small group of female artisans meticulously gather these palm leaves and then strip them into thin threads by hand. Then, they dye the palm leaf fibres a wide range of colours – from vibrant pink and green to contemporary grey and black.
Watching the artisans weave is absolutely fascinating! Their speed and dexterity are astonishing, and their hands become a blur as each design materialises before your eyes. Every basket is the result of the artisan’s finely-tuned skills and amazing attention to detail. Ultimately, the artisan’s incredible speed and precision create baskets that are practical, ethical, and beautiful.
Using ancient skills passed down from generation to generation, a small basket takes around a day to complete and larger ones can take up to three days. Finally, every basket is quality-checked to make sure it’ll look perfect in your home.