Farming, Spinning, Dyeing and Weaving - The New Learning Curve

This is a Charkha spinning wheel the style used by Gandhi, to promote self sufficiency in cloth making throughout India’s Independence from Great Britain. It is very fast and efficient, spinning a beautiful fine and strong yarn. This is also the type of wheel used by Khadi Oaxaca to promote hand spinning, a central part of their vision. 

Khadi Oaxaca generously let me bring a wheel home and it is currently in my bedroom :) I decided to keep it there with the intention of using it daily, mostly when I wake up, while the house is still and quiet, before everyone wakes up and before work for the day begins ♥️

Once I’m competent with spinning, I’ll be able to teach Mexchic’s staff who are very eager to learn then expand that to infinity, they are eager to teach their own family members too and I think (hope!) this will spread like wildfire through Santa Maria del Tule and beyond :) I plan on doing the same for natural dyeing and weaving as we have been doing with sewing. Knowledge exchange, generously and unselfishly learning and teaching, looking to the past to then healthily move forward is the only way to move ahead and away from the industrial violent mess the world has become.

Most textiles currently made in Mexico are unfortunately created by using industrial yarns which are dyed with chemical dyes and mixed with synthetic fibers. It is more affordable and easier for artisans to buy industrial yarn (and unfortunately there are not options available in the modern marketplace to counter that). And then tourists and arrive looking for bargains and barter costs even lower so artisans in general become stuck in a downward spiral of trying to keep things cheap so they can sell.

Bringing this vision of independence through spinning held by Gandhi and Khadi back into the homes and lands of Mexico on a large scale is revolutionary and transformative. If artisans and farmers once again begin to independently grow and spin their own fibers, heirloom cotton and high quality wool primarily, imagine how beautiful and bright the future of textiles will be here. Think of the Slow Food Movement, consider how buying organic produce and free range chicken at a farmers market is pretty normal now, and think about how buying that quality makes you feel. The price is a premium one, because you are investing in the future of a better earth but also your own health. It is now common place for chefs to either grow their own food or name the farming partners they purchase from. It’s a sense of pride  to be able to state this. Clothing should be the same way, designers and artisans alike should be able to name the farmer who grew the cotton, herded the sheep.... the consumer then needs to support this at the end of the chain by becoming more knowledgeable themselves.

Mexchic has been working over the last few months with friends Caitlin Ahern of Thread Caravan and Samuel Bautista Lazo of Dixza Rugs to begin planting heirloom cotton and other fiber producing plants within the Central Valley of Oaxaca, working with families and communities who still use traditional organic farming methods spaced between heirloom corn, irrigated only by rain. 

I’m really excited about all the learning I have coming my way, and proud of the sustainable and healthy 
direction Mexchic will literally grow into over the next five years.

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