MONTHLY ARTISAN PARTNER SPOTLIGHT:
Creaciones Presa de Barajas
"We are grateful to so many for their time, support and advice over the years. The project first started out as a health program that I was invited to by a friend. As a result of these collaborations over the years, Creaciones Presa de Barajas is where we are today." - Leticia
Creaciones Presa de Barajas is located in Jalisco, a small village in west central Mexico, outside of Tepatitlan. Three strong women, truly dedicated to creating products desired by the global customer, lead this group of local female artisans. Using a traditional technique called tatting, they form intricate lace patterns by knotting threads into the forms of rings and semicircles using nothing but their hands and a small shuttle. This ancient technique was brought to Mexico by nuns in the 1500s and passed down through generations from grandmother to mother to child.
The women in the town of Presa de Barajas have had a relationship with the UW for over a decade, emerging from UW-Madison global health field trip findings. Mexican community health nurse and UW Partner, Mari Robles has been a key in-country support since conception. In 2014, under the guidance of Associate Professor Carolyn Kallenborn, the Global Artisans: Design and Sustainability class at UW-Madison initiated a collaborative process with Presa de Barajas to design necklaces more in alignment with demand in the United States. By doing this, Creaciones Presa de Barajas was able to produce goods at lower cost, higher quality, and reached a larger market than ever before. As a result, the traditional technique has evolved into collections incorporating intricate patterns and bolder colors; some of their contemporary jewelry and shawl designs even incorporate glass beadwork. By elevating their designs, they have been able to generate more sales domestically; even the famous Oaxacan singer, Lila Downs, has been interviewed wearing their jewelry, and as of 2016, they've been invited to the renowned artisan fair in Chapala.
In partnership with Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace, Creaciones Presa de Barajas is able to sell their artisan goods in the United States, reaching a larger, international market, and in turn, allows these women to continue to generate income out of their homes.