First I found out I'd been shortlisted, then I attended an interview, had a few more phone calls with questions, and then, before I knew it, the event was launched (on Thursday), and there was my face on the Craft website as one of nine tutors taking part – what a thrill!
So now that it's all confirmed, I thought it might be useful to have some more detailed information on my blog about what's involved. The classes will go over four weeks and will cover the areas of construction, embroidery, crochet and 'hazme si puedes' (a type of smocking).
Obviously the most striking part of a Mexican blouse is the embroidery. The blouses in my class will be in the style made by the women of San Antonino Castillo Velasco. It's astonishing how each area of Mexico has its own type of fibre art, and the range in stitching styles is equally broad. All the elements that make up the embroidery though, are quite simple, so I've been designing various templates for the class. People can choose a design, or indeed draw their own, based on how much homework they want to do. A full bodice of embroidery can take a number of weeks if done in fine detail, as shown below.
|Blouse embroidery from San Antonino Castillo Velasco.|
Lastly, the section that looks like smocking on the blouse below is actually 'Hazme si Puedes' or 'Make me if you can'. I'll have to admit, I was pretty worried about making something with such a daunting name, but if you keep your stitches even and count carefully, it's not too hard.
This is not the case with the most of the embroidery, and certainly not that from San Antonino. The designs (flowers, leaves and birds), colours and indeed even the blouse itself, were introduced by the Spanish in the 1700s, and the stitches for the embroidery and crochet are standard stitches known the world over. I'm sure there will be those that disagree, but I think it gives people a real appreciation of how many women spend their lives when they get the opportunity to make the same item themselves.
Another thing I've been working on, is how I can give back to communities I visit and people who teach me. I have a couple of things in development in regards to this, but in terms of this workshop, 5% of my fee will be donated to En Via, the organisation that provides interest-free micro loans to local women that I wrote about here.
So, I think that's it! If you're interested you can find the link to my Craft page here, and the event's Facebook page here. I'd love to see you there!
And big thanks to the Wagga Stitching Ladies – Meri, Di, Gillian, Susan, Marilyn and Pat for testing various steps in this process for me.