June 14, 2022
When we talk about authentic Mexican crafts, it is impossible not to think about the palm weaving, an ancient tradition which is passed from generation to generation. The profession of to braid palm leaves to create beautiful and functional day-to-day objects is a genuine art that requires both talent and experience.
About its origin
It’s believed that palm weaving existed for centuries, since archeologists have found weaved pieces in the Mediterranean that indicate that those civilizations made utensils out of palms. It should be noted that this natural material is very strong and resistant, that’s why it became an excellent way to make products that could be sold or traded.
Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that the palm, although it abounds all over Mexico, it is originated in Europe. Nevertheless, the Mexican subtropical habitat is perfect for palms.
The process of palm weaving
It all starts with the collection of palm leaves. For this, people from the community of artisans must enter the jungle and, using a special sickle for this purpose, cut the green and tender palm leaves that have not yet spread. Those leaves are the only ones that retain the flexibility necessary for weaving. After cutting the leaves, they collect them and transport them, on the back of a donkey, back to the community.
Then, Each palm leaf is sliced and left to dry in the open for bleaching. Depending on the desired degree of “whiteness”, this process takes between 8 and 10 days.
One thing to remember is that leaves are now dry, which means they are also hard. And if someone were to braid them, they would break. That’s why artisans must manipulate them to get a soft texture. How? By scalding the leaves in boiling water. After doing this, they just leave them dry for a day and that’s it. The leaves are elastic enough.
Before beginning with the braiding process, artisans cut the stems and select the best leaves to work with. It should be noted that the women have to separate each by each to find the best. Although in Azul Mejicano we don't do, some people paint them with natural pigments. After this, it’s finally time to start braiding. It takes about 70 hours to finish one of our wome’s bags.
The last step is to leave them out in the sun, so they dry again and sew. This is where true talent arises, and the artisan must show off their ability as a confectionery.
Where can you find the palm weaving technique?
As you could see, the crafts made with woven palm are a work that involves a whole community. All the bags in Azul Mejicano are made by Mexican artisans that preserve the palm weaving technique.
Take a look at our bags and pick the one that goes best with your personality.
December 15, 2022
December 15, 2022