Kahlo: Fabrics from Mexico

“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.”
― Frida Kahlo.

I have created these prints inspired by traditional Mexican fabrics. Tenango textile art and Chinantec textile art, in particular.

“Originating from the Sierra Otomí-Tepehua in the state of Hidalgo, the Tenangos, embroidered with multi-colored” alebrijes “in blanket, are the work of women -mainly- and men who are inspired by the nature that surrounds them, in their culture… “

This type of embroidery is characterized by being multicolored, with numerous interwoven shapes, usually of plants or animals and with a white or black background. I have been inspired by the colorful shapes and drawings of this type of embroidery to create my first print.

On the other hand, the Chinantec embroidery is also inspired by forms of nature, flowers, birds etc for their embroidery, and ideally uses natural materials and ancestral and ecological processes. It differs from Tenango embroidery in that the forms are more complex, composed of smaller stitches, and are mainly composed of geometric shapes. I have based on these embroideries to create my second print, of mainly geometric shapes.

 As for the way of printing, it has been manually, by means of the method known as transfer.

The transfer consists of creating prints digitally, and printing them. Subsequently, special machinery (a kind of roller) and a substance similar to acetone are needed. We impregnate the print printed on paper with the acetone, and place it on our canvas (it works better on natural fabrics, and if it is printed a short time ago and with fresh ink). We roll several times, and take off the paper from the cloth. We already have our stamp!

The transfer technique usually leaves prints with a slight uneven, aged effect, which can be much more interesting than a uniform pattern.

Finally, the complete outfit of the model is inspired by the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, with its characteristic braids, flowers, and long earrings. In addition, Frida’s wardrobe was full of fabric garments and colors typical from mexican textile arts.


Mexican textile art information from: http://masdemx.com/2016/07/arte-textil-y-bordados-indigenas-de-mexico-una-guia-para-distinguir-los-distintos-tipos/

All images belong to Raquel Galiano and me.

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