Astral Bag (Mexico)
Astral Bag (Mexico)
- From The Oaxaca Collection.
- Handmade in the Valles Centrales of Oaxaca, Mexico.
- 100% wool exterior with matching red, muslin interior and leather strap.
- Two inside pockets, one with an additional zip pocket.
- Handwoven on a fixed, pedal-operated loom.
- 19” x 14.5”
The Astral Bag is rich but subtle, and effortlessly cosmopolitan. I would wear this in NYC any day and, for my fellow lawyers out there, would even bring it to court. The bag is a deep red with a mosaic of barely-touching triangles of a multitude of colors. An earthly, starry plain.
The amount of work that goes into making a bag like this is astounding. The weaving alone on these bags takes upwards of two weeks. I have included a few extra photos here about the process, but I also wrote an entire story (link to story below) you can read here that explains the process and people behind this work in much greater detail. This particular bag was not made by my friends featured in the story, but I think this bag does well to showcase the variety and quality of work that comes from this village of master weavers.
All of the woven bags in this collection are made in the same village, where families of master rug weavers (and, now, some bag makers!) have been employing traditional methods of weaving for many generations. The sheep’s wool comes from local sheep, often raised by the families of weavers themselves, which is then hand combed and spun into large loops of yarn.
The natural colors of the wool—white, black (rarer) and brown—can be left as they are or dyed into a seemingly infinite array of colors. But they don’t use just any dye. Instead, each of the colors you see here is a product of natural dyes obtained from plants, flower, fruit and even insects (the cochineal bug) from the valley. These materials are often mixed with limestone or lemon, for example, to create unsuspecting, seemingly unnatural colors. It’s part chemistry, part art.
All of the weaving is done on pedal-operated looms, which are also constructed by local artisans. It’s incredible to watch the rhythm of masters weaving on these looms, feet and hands working together so quickly and elegantly, putting together tapestries one painstaking row (and, for the designs, a single thread or small line) at a time. It’s a work of love that shows in the results.