Mexican Indigenous Textiles
Textiles is one of Mexico’s more important crafts as it represents the continuation of tradition as well as its fusion with modern designs and techniques. Both pre-Hispanic and colonial era style textiles are still made in Mexico. In addition, many of the textile factories use machines based on old foot pedal looms from the colonial period. There are basically four types of fibers used for fabric production:
- Vegetable products such as cotton
- Animal products such as wool and silk
- Minerals such as gold and silver thread
Raw materials for textiles fall into two groups: smooth fibers such as silk, cotton, and wool, introduced to the American continent by the conquistadors; and hard fibers native to Mexico such as ixtle, lechuguilla, reeds, palm, twigs, and willow. In indigenous regions of Mexico, women are responsible for clothing the community, a process which often begins with harvesting natural fibers and then spinning, dyeing, and weaving textiles. In various parts of Mexico, both native backstrap looms and pedal-driven looms of European origin are used to weave principally cotton and wool.