Palm weaving, a craft that became art

July 27, 2022

Palm weaving, a craft that became art

When we talk about the crafts around Mexican territory, we also talk about history and heritage, for they are techniques that have been around for years. Palm weaving is a clear example of this. Today we want to talk about this craft since it holds a special place in our hearts. Why? Because our handbags are made from scratch with this beautiful technique!

A little about its history

It is believed that the palm weaving craft was invented in the Mediterranean. Historians found traces of weaved pieces in different islands from centuries ago. So we can conclude that those civilizations wanted to take advantage of the natural resources from the area to create utensils that could help them every day, such as:

  • Hats
  • Baskets
  • Fans 
  • Brooms
  • Rugs
  • Chairs
  • Cribs
  • Handbags

Soon, palm weaving became a respected profession, mostly adopted by women. In Oaxaca, it is one of the most popular crafts you find around the city.

The amazing process

The first step of the artisanal process is to recollect the palm leaves that develop from the stem and look like a fan. People in charge of this part have to be very thorough because this type of palm is not cultivated. Artisans must recollect the leaves from the wild plants.

Next, they have to cut them with a special sickle and spread them in the sun, so they can get dry and beige. The problem here is that dry leaves cannot be manipulated since they lack elasticity, so the next step is to scald them in boiling water, so they can be braid-ready.

Then, artisans cut the stems and start separating them to select the best leaves to work with. Sometimes the Oaxacan women apply natural color pigments to decorate the leaves. Finally, it is time to braid and sew, which is the most dedicated step of the process.

A craft in danger of extinction 

Sadly, with industrialization and growth, this profession stopped being profitable for a lot of people. So they had to cave before the mass-produced “crafts”. That is why the women who continue to craft palm-weaved pieces are considered true artists. Because this technique is less and less common, the pieces they create are unique.

Here at Azul Mejicano, we pride ourselves on following the artisanal and millennial process of palm weaving. The women who work with us are artists that have inherited this art and will continue to pass it on to their daughters to maintain this tradition alive!


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