The cross-stitch technique is one of the fundamental bases from which Indie Gen was born. Fidelia, our first artisan collaborator is a descendant of a great lineage of cross-stitch embroiderers, a fascinating technique, full of history and culture.
To identify embroidery with cross-stitch technique, we must pay attention to the stitches, although different types are used. The main one is in the form of small “X”, combining them in different colors to create really beautiful figures.
This beautiful technique of embroidery is one of the oldest in the world, its not known with certainty who created it or where it was born, but it is believed that it was in Central Asia almost 3,000 years ago, since fragments of cloth have been found in archaeological sites with this type of technique.
It was in Europe, during the Middle Ages, that the technique began to be used frequently and to expand; it was the traditional hobby of women and gave it many uses, for example, to decorate tablecloths, rugs, make drawings, pictures, clothes and one of the ones I find most incredible: to learn to read and write.
Literally, for many women (and their children) embroidery in the cross-stitch technique was the way they began to write, this practice was so popular that works of embroidery known as “Samplers”, where the alphabet and numbers were embroidered, began to appear to practice reading and writing.
Cross-stitch was evolving over time along with the textile industry since more fabrics, threads, and colors could produce more possibilities. This opened up the creativity of this ancient technique. This generated a greater expansion, and therefore the technique began to be known by practically all women in Europe, who happily practiced in their homes.
In the Sixteenth century, Spain began to give a more artistic style to this technique, as they exquisitely decorated the monarch clothes using cross-stitch, technique that therefore ended up expanding through out Europe.
Regarding our Mexico, embroidery and all its techniques, including cross- stitch, we owe to Europe, since it was introduced by Spain after the conquest. In the Pre-Hispanic Era embroidery was not practiced, for the fundamental reason that the steel needle didn’t exist, which is an indispensable element to embroider.
Undoubtedly, we believe that Mexico is one of the countries that benefited the most from these teachings. Since it took the textile knowledge of the cross-stitch technique, embracing it in a way as if its soul was left imprinted, making it their own and creating authentic textile art, with a special touch that only the Indigenous people from Mexico could have given it, highlighting with a creative combination of bright colors, making the embroideries come alive.
The main Mexican states that practice cross stitch embroidery have customized this technique giving it a special touch, so we can identify the many differences between different regions of Mexico, for example in Yucatan they use a very fine thread and perfectly formed crosses, as a support they use a squared cloth called Canevà which they place as a reference on the fabric to be embroidered and therefore can be guided to embroider cross by cross. This embroidery is also known in Yucatan as hilo contado or counted thread, because while using the Canevà they count every cross to create their design. On the contrary, in Chiapas they embroider with thick yarn, which created crosses that are thicker, and instead of using Canevà, they draw a grid on the fabric or unthread the fabric thread by thread in order to create their crosses; a technique that takes longer.
These techniques were passed from generation to generation by Mexican artisans, which have survived until today, as we see for example with Fidelia and her family, a whole lineage of cross stitch embroiderers, that we wish with all our heart to continue practicing for many more years.
We have started to think what would the Asian pioneers say now about this technique? Most likely they would be amazed to known that their art is practiced and honored by so many different countries and cultures. Would they have thought of the possibility that their technique would travel around the world and survived through so many years? When we connect with our heart, creating our own art we are probably building something that in years will be recognized and admired by the entire world. Although we don’t know...