Mexican Flavour – Preserving Tradition

07 May

source mexicoculture

Embroidery and weaving have had a very long tradition in Mexico, but as with a lot of traditional cultures fewer and fewer members continue to wear these indigenous fabrics as part of their everyday life.  Whilst the adornment of the traditional costume may have faded the women continue to embroider and sell these traditional items,  and the colourful prints and embroidery of the Mexican indigenous population of the Otomi Tribe is evolving from traditional dress to some beautiful vibrant homewares.

The Otomi textiles are handcrafted by the Mexican Otomi Indians out of muslin fabric and bright embroidery. The colours are striking and certainly serve well to give even the most neutral of rooms a simple lift of colour and vibrance.

Lighting Up

The Paulina Pendant and the Hunter Lamp (below) from Straydog Designs are all hand crafted. The shade is made up of Fabric embroidered by the Otomi Indians which covers a wire cage.  Due to it’s hand made nature every shade will be different making them fabulous individual pieces of art. The finial hanging down on the pendant light is handcrafted papier mache that has been partly gold leafed.

Paulina Pendant

Paulina Pendant (

Hunter Lamp


The distinctive fabric can be used to create cushions, bedspreads, upholstery, and despite the vibrance of the colours it does not look over the top or imposing.  Just enough to brighten up for the summer months or bring a little sunshine to the winter months. Here are some ideas.


DIY headboard source

Add a pop of colour to the bedroom with a headboard, have a how to video for you to get inspired. or you can purchase from EcoChic.

Or for those who prefer a little less effort a bedspread or throw may be just the Salsa.  Also available at EcoChic.  They are not cheap but bear in mind that these take up to three months to make by hand in Mexico so really they are a bargain when you think about the care and talent that has gone into them.

A dónde van a dar los tenangos. O cómo decorar tu cuarto.  interiorsaddict:  These bedspreads take up to three months to make by hand in Mexico. Wow. ECOCHIC, the online furniture and homewares shop for the stylish yet eco aware consumer, has just launched a gorgeous range of colourful and intricate handwoven Otomi bedspreads. So get rid of those boring neutrals, bring in the colour of the Mexican Otomi people and help sustain a beautiful tradition! The Otomi are indigenous people who live in the central “altiplano” of Mexico. The bedspreads are also great to use as tablecloths, throws, upholstery and even wall hangings. These gorgeous embroidered fabrics are 100% natural cotton canvas. The covers are approximately 183 x 183cm square. They come in a range of colours, cost $495 and shipping time is 2-to-6 weeks depending on colour. 

My favourite has to be this teal!

New York based Jacaranda Home, with the aim of keeping the Otomi tradition alive, sells this beautiful fabric.  As you can see the fabrics come in all colours even more subdued neutrals to give you the pattern without the pop!

Otomi Fabric

A little extra

Here are some other ideas of how you can incorporate this traditional print and fabric into your home or space.

Pinned Image


 Add a little colour to a plain and cheap chest of drawers, perfect for a kids room or nursery.  It would go well with the minimalist Scandinavian look as well (nothing wrong with mixing up the cultural influences!).  Or Peter Gilroys hand crafted stools, available on etsy.

Mexican Otomi Upholstered Ottoman
Or go all out and create a conversation with the  The Tenango Sound Chair by Valentina Gonzalez Wohlers or their Prickly Pair Chair.
No matter what your style there is something for everyone, subtle or bold.

A little preservation…

For those interested in the organisations looking to preserve such traditional textile methods  you may be interested to read more  about the work of the Mexican Indigenous Textile Project which was established to preserve the traditional textile industry of Mexico. They also sell a lot of the fabrics on ebay.

On with the colourful journey……………..

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7 responses to “Mexican Flavour – Preserving Tradition

  1. This Sydney Life

    May 7, 2012 at 7:56 am

    I just LOVE the prickly pear chairs with the Mexican embroidered backs – I SO wish I had a wee spot for one of these babies. Gorgie’ post, BCD. 🙂

    • birdcagedesign

      May 7, 2012 at 9:33 am

      Thanks TSL… The chairs are pretty fab, they have a few out there designs on their website. BTW did you see the Sun Herald this weekend they have the creators of the cockatoo lamp (Bonnie and Neil) talking about their home? They are Kiwi’s – gees you guys are talented 🙂 !!!!

      • This Sydney Life

        May 7, 2012 at 9:37 am

        I DID see and I thought of your post, too! I’m fascinated by people who can decorate like that – I think I try too hard and can’t pull it off.

  2. EverydaySparks

    May 7, 2012 at 10:39 am

    They are fabulous – would love to be brave enough to splash colour around like that! I went looking on Peter Gilroy’s website and accidentally found a new favourite bangle too… 🙂

    • birdcagedesign

      May 7, 2012 at 11:34 am

      That is the trouble, there are too many nice things to stumble upon… need to work out those lottery numbers

  3. tarapappas

    May 8, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Wow the cactus-inspired chairs are fantastic! Absolutely gorgeous designs!

    • birdcagedesign

      May 8, 2012 at 8:24 am

      Thank you for stopping by Tara, they are really great arn’t they, a definate conversation starter piece.


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