The history of Otomi embroidery can actually be traced back to pre Aztec Meso-America with the symbolism, iconography and colour ways of the pieces reflecting the time-honoured traditions and beliefs of the Otomi people. A severe drought in the 1960’s caused much damage to the farming region of the Tenant Valley leaving the Otomi people in search of alternative ways of making a living. Looking back to their artistic heritage , these stunning hand embroidered textiles also known as ‘Tenangos’ were modernised and revived.
Women create whimsical embroidery inspired by Otomí legends and the region’s rich plant and animal life. Each piece is incredibly detailed; the design is first drawn on and then embroidered entirely by hand. Large pieces such as a bed throw take up to 3 months to make and no one design is exactly the same.
We work with a small group of female artisans from a small village called El Nanthe, which is nestled in the mountains of Hidalgo. There are 10 core members in the group and the women embroider from home, which is of great benefit to them as they can still be on hand to care for their families. The embroideries give the women an additional income which helps to sustain the household. By collaborating directly with the group, we can ensure that they are fairly paid for their work.
With our current collection of cushions, we upscaled the base fabric on which the women embroider and added details such as brightly coloured pompoms to give our pieces a more luxurious feel and a unique twist.