Aug 13, 2020
Symbols of Mexico: The All-Natural Story
The Mexico Collection features symbols of its culture, created in a variety of unique natural colors. Full grain leather, luxurious structure, and rich colors make this collection special. The Artisans behind this collection use an all-natural process to create each bag. They dye the weavings using materials found near their homes, and they create their designs using the traditional symbols of their culture.
Wool Dyeing Process
Master Artisans dye the wool using organic materials that grow near their homes in Oaxaca, Mexico. This tradition has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. We are grateful to them for their skill in creating these beautiful colors in a sustainable and non-toxic way.
First, the Artisans wash the wool with cold water and let it dry for a few days. Then they comb through the wool. Combing the wool separates it from plants or foreign fibers that may have become entangled in it. After the wool has been combed, they spin it into yarn.
Organic materials soak in water for days or even weeks until they become dye. This process is unique because the dyes are developed through fermentation. Some of the elements used to make the natural dyes might surprise you!
- Brown is created using dried pomegranate peel.
- Artisans use dried walnut peel to dye the wool a darker brown.
- Alfalfa is used for green dye.
- Curcuma (turmeric) produces a beautiful yellow.
- You may not have heard of Cochinilla, but you’ve probably seen a “roly-poly” beetle! They are used to create 29 different traditional colors.
- Cochinilla red and lemon yellow together make orange.
- And blue dye comes from the indigo plant.
After the wool and the color have been prepared, the Artisans bring the dye to a boil. They boil the wool with the dye so the color can set. After the wool has been dyed to the desired color, it is washed and left to dry for at least two days.
Symbols of Mexico
Many of the symbols found in Mexican rugs are pre-Hispanic representations of cycles of life and the natural world. Have you seen any of these symbols in the rug panels on your bags?
The Eye of God
The Mexican people are a God-fearing society. They believe that God is always watching us. The Eye of God symbol (or Ojo de Dios) brings wishes of health, long life, and protection from harm. It represents the spiritual eye, which is able to see and understand what the physical eye cannot.
You can recognize thunder symbolism on your bag by its jagged edges and central diamonds. This design often looks like jagged steps. During the rainy season in Oaxaca, it’s common for thunderstorms to form and blow through as quickly as they came. According to the ancient Mayans, thunder was created by the god Chaac using an axe to strike the clouds.
The snail design is often referred to as “Grecas,” because it resembles a Greek symbol. It is square in shape and coils inward. The snail represents different stages of life: birth, growth, death, and rebirth.
More About Mexico
You can learn more about how our Mexican Master Artisans prepare and dye their wool at our Thrive Virtual VIP Event in September! The Artisans will welcome you into their workspaces and share their stories with you.