24 April, 2018 Posted by Tamara Krantzberg

San Cristobal de las Casas is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. Its urban composition and artisanal details have earned it the title of “Pueblo Mágico”, or “Magic City”. Every part of this wonderful town has something to admire, but, in my opinion, the most impressive part of San Cristobal is the textiles that are created here. There is an endless range of shapes, colors, embroideries, and designs featured on these pieces of art.

Textil con primer telar de pedal

One of the most representative textiles for San Cristobal is produced from the pedal weaving loom. This method of weaving is an ancestral technique, pioneered by the indigenous peoples from Los Altos de Chiapas. It requires a very skilled operator and is physically demanding, but the results obtained by the artisan’s hard work are mesmerizing.

Primer telar de pedal de san cristobal de las casas

At Indie Gen, a lot of the textiles we use are created with the pedal weaving loom. It is a fundamental theme featured in nearly all of our collections that brings life and energy to the shoulders, neck, and sleeves of our pieces. It’s not hard to identify these textiles- their geometric patterns and colors bursting with energy are impossible to miss. The weaving is done with such perfection that it’s difficult to recognize that they are handmade pieces.

 

Chamarras indie gen hechas a mano con textil de telar de pedal

The factory that produces Indie Gen’s pedal loom textiles is the only one still using this type of loom. It has been passed down from generation to generation, and the owner is a man that has a remarkable passion for Mexican textiles. It’s something I have never seen before. Each one of his designs are created with true dedication and an amazing amount of creativity. Each thread is counted, and every color is carefully considered. Truly, it is a work of art.

The actual pedal loom has a large wood base, made up of pulleys, meshes, the comb, and pedals that the operator uses to work the machine. Tools such as the lathe, the distaff, the pitchers with cannulas, and the tensioner all work together to keep the machine working smoothly. A movement of the hands and feet of the operator orchestrates all parts of the loom and weaves each textile (primarily wool or cotton).

 

Perhaps the most difficult task in operating the loom involves keeping rigorous account of the knots that are added or subtracted to the “warp” (base strings) of the loom. These knots, called the “weft”, create the unique designs. As you can imagine, the possibilities are endless. This laborious work takes around six to eight hours each day. You’ll know the pedal loom is working to create something beautiful when you hear the peculiar rhythm from the pedal and shuttle weaving together. It’s a magical sound like no other.

Textil hecho con la técnica de telar de pedal

To bring color to the textiles, a wool dye is made. These natural dye’s typically have an animal, vegetable, or mineral origin. The process of creating the dyes is done with great caution. Each color, design, and application has great sentiment and history for the artisan and must be executed perfectly to reflect this. From start to finish, the entire process of creating a textile with the pedal loom technique can take up to fifteen days.  

Jose Antonio de Chiapas, bordando en el primer telar de pedal

Indie Gen has allowed me to discover how each technique of textile creation is executed. The artisans never cease to surprise me with their dedication, creativity, and talent. Each of the textiles created by them has a history reflected in their work. The effort, time, and love that is put into their pieces is truly remarkable. Being in constant collaboration with Mexican artisans inspires us at Indie Gen to continue sharing the stories of our textiles, and to put as much love, effort, and creativity into our pieces as the artisans put into theirs.  

 

Tags:

  • Chiapas
  • collaboration
  • first pedal weaving loom
  • handmade
  • San Cristobal de las Casas
  • textile
View Previous Blog
Related blogs:
FIRST PEDAL WEAVING LOOM FROM CHIAPAS

24 April, 2018

The pedal weaving loom is an ancestral technique, pioneered by the indigenous peoples from Los Altos de Chiapas. It requires a very skilled operator and is physically demanding, but the results obtained by the artisan’s hard work are mesmerizing.

CREATION PROCESS OF AN INDIE GEN JACKET

22 March, 2018

The process of creating an Indie Gen jacket is almost magical, so many different things are mixed together, that the end result is incredible!

Packaging

07 March, 2018

The main box is black, framing its smoothness and elegance with a white outline on all edges. On the center you’ll find the same pattern, a white frame with the Indie Gen logo inside, resembling entering a museum...

Cross-stitch embroidery

27 February, 2018

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.

Art multiplies benefits

12 February, 2018

That was my father’s motto, Alex Krantzberg, when he decided to donate his artwork “La muerte sigue siendo vida”, by auctioning 26 pieces of his art for the Chiapas foundation “Huellas que trascienden”.

Magic

25 January, 2018

When you mix textiles made by different people, traditions, cultures, and countries, you get an art piece that encompasses all the beauty in the world— the seamless collision and unity of diverse stories and souls, joining together as a kind of mosaic.

Textile Experimentation 1

02 January, 2018

Although our mission continues to evolve as we deepen our relationships with artisan women around Mexico, the first phase of our efforts has unravelled as a series of workshops meant to inspire creativity and empower our collaborating artisans to value themselves and their work as art.

The road trip that started it all.

11 December, 2017

Almost 4 years ago marks the first time Tamara met Fidelia and the rest of the Poot-Castillo family. While studying fashion and textile design at Parson’s in New York City, Tamara travelled to London, Japan, Turkey, Indonesia, and more, to learn from the local cultures and pioneers of textile design around the world...

#INDIEGENFASHION

Join to our

Newsletter

Fashion social enterprise focused on collaborating with Mexican textile artists.