Slow Travel Diaries ft. Bohetnika – Mexico (Part II)

Slow Travel Diaries ft. Bohetnika – Mexico (Part II)

Following the Slow Travel Stories ft. Bohetnika from Mexico, Lizeth a traveler with heart, a passionate wanderluster and social entrepreneur share with us the second part of her journey. Volume two shows the impresive city of Oaxaca, this time with her husband Alex Behrendt and Bohetnika‘s partner. Alex an incredible support for Liz in this entrepreneur journey as she quotes “despite Alex not being in front of the camera, his commitment, support and passion for Mexico have been one of the pillars and reasons for Bohetnika to continue sharing their story andn moving forward”.

THE BEGINNING OF THE ARTISAN JOURNEY

Starting with Mexico City, where we rented a car to head south to Oaxaca. Those who have traveled there, will not let me lie the incredible views and landscapes, just spectacular. Perfect for Cactus lovers, this is  a Cactu’s paradise!

Our first appointment was with the artisan Nayelli Lorenzo, from the community of San Juan Colorado, a town that borders the state of Oaxaca. She came in the company of her family representing a beautiful cooperative of 200 women artisans called “Jiñi u’ñu”. They are the ones who make beautiful huipiles in waist loom with  figures that represents culture, heritage & tradition of a whole community coming to life through natural dyeing obtained from plants and flowers of nearby surroundings. A truly work of art!

Do you want to see the process? It is definitely unique, basically they use natural ingredients such as Cempasúchitl flower which is famous for being used in the festivities of the Day of the Dead in Mexico, from there you get a beautiful yellow color. There is another herb which they call “The grass of love” where they obtain that special purple color. The green is obtained from the fresh indigo and there is another shade of lighter yellow which is obtained from the guava leaf.

This community work with “Coyuche” cotton, which is a light brown cotton typical of Oaxaca, which is commonly found in the coastal area. This cotton is in danger of extinction, so we looked very careful and close all the the process. We saw the amount of hours, work and details they put, including their love for each garment. This is the reason why investing in artisan-made products must be made from the heart and love for design, right?

As people say, a   picture is worth a thousand words! Here some of the photos provided by our dear Nayelli:

 

GOING SOUTH TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE “COYUCHE” COTTON

The next day, we had another adventure already planned: a trip for three hours to the beautiful community of San Sebastián Río Hondo to see the process of making garments made with organic cotton. In this beautiful community located in the mountains to the south of Oaxaca, we met Cheo Ramírez and his wife Felipa Ramírez who very kindly took us through the town explaining the whole process.

In San Sebastián Río Hondo these artisans also use the  “Coyuche”cotton which people from Oaxaca harvest organically, despite not having a certified material, one can see the who process is transparent and 100% hand made by artisans.

IMPRESSED AND SATISFIED

A bright & wonderful day in which we raised some images to make a small video which we will share with pleasure with all of you and which you will find at the end of this publication. The visit to San Sebastian was nurturing and a learning experience from us, we were guided to see where the process of cotton, how it is thrown and what we found interesting is their method to work with  the “spinning wheel”, where the original idea was taken from Mahatma Gandhi.

 

They work with women from the village and nearby ranches who spin the thread, weave the fabric and embroider our designs. They get organic cotton from Katyi Ya’a, a collective of 18 women who spin and weave locally grown, native, organic, naturally colored brown and white cotton (Coyuche). The coast of Oaxaca and Guerrero, the Costa Chica, is one of the few places in the world where naturally colored cotton originates.

This makes the process  impressive, learning about where the cotton comes from and the people involved in this project. That is what makes it valuable and meaninful for us, entrepreneurs and advocates who aims to commit to culture preservation, heritage and honor our ancestral traditions.

Rosendo Martínez, Cheo’s Father working in the pedal loom.

 

Alex, Liz and Cheo in San Sebastian Río Hondo

 

THE LAST DAYS

 

During the last part of our trip we visited other communities like Santo Tomás Jalieza where I practiced to work with the waist loom and where we acquired beautiful belts that will combine perfectly with the huipiles of San Juan Colorado and San Sebastián Río Hondo. We also visited Ocotlan, we saw craftsmen painting and we tasted gastronomic delights in the market, we admired the daily life in near the town kiosk. Without a doubt, our adventure is not limited to just a few words through this text, it is something that we carry in our hearts. We invite you to visit our Instagram and our website to learn more about our project.

 

To finish, once in my hometown, Durango, we made a great photoshot, really grateful for the collaboration with a professional team. . Check out our Instagram for more updates!

I would like to end this publication by thanking Slow Fashion World and their founder Mariel Jumpa who has always supported us since the beginning, and who strongly supports and believes in human values in this accelerated world.

We also want to thank and recognize the value of work, passion and love with which Mexican artisans work for a better world, to follow their customs. We admire and respect their beautiful work and we want through our project, Bohetnika, to contribute and share the beauty of Mexican textiles and handcraft to the world.

Ph: Nelson Soto Rivas – Model: Natalia García

Huipil: San Juan Colorado, Oaxaca.

Belt: Santo Tomás Jalieza, Oaxaca.

www.bohetnika.com / instagram @bohetnika

 

 

Lizeth Soto Rivas

Lizeth Soto Rivas

Founder Bohetnika & SFW Change-Maker

Lizeth Soto Rivas is the founder of Bohetnika. She has been recently assigned as official guide for Slow Travel Community. She is also behind the movement “Goes Latin” PopUp stores around Europe with events empowering Latin American fashion, and designers.

She is a graduate and expert in Communications, Social Media currently living in Berlin since 2014. Lizeth travels the world creating strong connections and global network. She loves photography, creative art, and have worked in international and local projects connected to artisan empowerment and textiles.

Slow Travel Diaries ft. Bohetnika – Mexico (Part II)

Following the Slow Travel Stories ft. Bohetnika from Mexico, Lizeth a traveler with heart, a passionate wanderluster and social entrepreneur share with us the second part of her journey. Volume two shows the impresive city of Oaxaca, this time with her husband Alex...

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Slow Travel Diaries ft. Bohetnika (Part I)

Slow Travel Diaries ft. Bohetnika (Part I)

Why to Slow Travel?

To learn, get inspired and connect. I love to travel like many of you, and I am always thinking of ways to do it with balance and positive impact, for people and the environment. My goal is to always improve, but mostly learn from each city, fall in love with their traditions, sightseeing in unexpected locations just to fine pure beauty beyond the traditional tours or following the “places to go”. This time I want to tell you my history behind my journey in Mexico, as a social entrepreneur it means to be conscious about my work, follow passion and love for mi Mexico lindo.

For a week I traveled to visit some important places between Mexico City and the state of Chiapas in the south of the country. My main reason: to connect with artisans, meet with them and start a story together promoting SLOW FASHION through the company I founded with my husband Alex, Bohetnika . Currently my husband and I live in Berlin, I am Mexican and he is German. We both began this dream together in 2016 and now we are increasingly convinced that with this beautiful project we can contribute with a small grain of sand so Mexican artisans have more fair work opportunities.

Veronica Tego wearing beautiful Artisan-made shirt. MUA: Kathia Cruz

 

Bohetnika empowers artisans and brings a curated selection of handmade Mexican clothing. In my opinion, supporting & co-creating with the artisans to sell the clothes they have already made has been the most significant aspect of my life. From 2018 our aim has been to start with the adventure and develop micro collections with custom made details.

Redescovering, connecting for the Slow Travel community.

During the first days of December I traveled alone in my search. I found pleasant surprises, I met and connected with wonderful people. Actually, one of the following projects we have with Slow Fashion World is to connect creatives and conscious citizens with slow travel and local living experiences. This is precisely the intention we aim to do as change-makers of this platform. Slow Travel Community aims to inspire, connect and create positive impact by making conscious trips that connects deeply to cultural respect, learn more about the traditions and how to help them maintain alive, enjoy and taste the local gastronomy and, of course, interact and even co-create with the experts: the artisans that live and work for centuries with Mexican textiles in the South of Mexico.

Slow Traveling

This time I visited only the state of Chiapas in search of new collaborations with artisans, however, in Mexico City I connected with a very nice person called María, who told me many details about her experience working with artisans.

I also had a couple of meetings with collaborators with whom we are doing as a part of the micro-collection for Bohetnika. For around 5 days I stayed in San Cristóbal de las Casas, a small colonial city with a wonderful mystical and welcoming touch, which invites you to enjoy tranquility in a unique way. (Well, I will omit a bit that in my days there I went through the day of the Virgin which, was not exactly quiet by the numerous processions). Every day there was inspiring.

Here comes my highlights (You can also see them via Bohetnika’s Instagram):

Mexico City

In this big, chaotic but interesting city it is impossible to think that you will make a “slow travel”, right? However, and although it is difficult to believe, the place where you stay is key to feel that way. Just a couple of blocks from the “Zocalo” or main square in the capital, I found a beautiful hostel called “Casa de Pepe” with a very nice atmosphere, an incredible terrace in which I enjoyed my first rays of sun after the harsh Berliner winter, all next to Puff chairs and beautiful cactus. An ideal place for a “digital nomad”. My meetings were held in this place, each of them was delighted by the tranquility and comfort of the place.

San Cris

After 3 days in Mexico City I headed south, with final destination San Cristobal de las Casas. Here from the first days walking through the small town I fell in love with the new craftwork that is being done in the town. I made my first new friend! Don Esteban, a tour guide who took me to meet the indigenous people and who kindly connected me with Micaela, who came to my hotel to talk a couple days later. During my visit, we arrived at a craftsman’s house in Zinacantán, a town famous for its textiles inspired by the production of flowers which provides a big part the country with this product. Here, I once again immersed myself in the process of the famous way women use their looms, do hand embroidery and of course, they shared a little knowledge with me.

Faustina, a 16-year-old girl was kindly preparing tortillas, tenderly shared with me her desires to know other places in the world.

After visiting the house of these artisans and acquiring beautiful clothes with them, I went back to the hotel. The next day a great friend of mine arrived who agreed in collaborating with me for the realization of a photography session. She is proudly from Chiapas.

For my last day, I met a great craftswoman, Teresa. She told me several personal stories, which are changing little by little the way I see and admire the work of a artisans. She was operated for an injury which has prevented her from continuing to work on her loom. However, thanks to its knowledge of languages, she continues to be a very important pillar among indigenous communities and serves as an important point of connection between designers and artisans.

Puebla

Last day before going home, and once I left San Cristóbal, I met Karen and Julio, who are the gentle people who is helping Bohetnika with the process of making part of our micro collection. In Puebla, they took already all the disassembled pieces from the fabric I brought in Lithuania and we got started!

One week before in CDMX they were the ones I met first, I gave them the fabric, and the image of the flowers I wanted for the designs so they made the stamp, on top of the stamp, artisans can do their magic! so, there we were, stamping clothes and having fun. To  be honest, we were very nervous as well!

I have always said that things happen for a reason, happily, I went home with my family in the north of Mexico, I was so lucky to meet such wonderful people with whom I shared experiences that, I hope in the near future I can share with some of  the Slow Travel Community. Share with us your best slow travel experience. Do you want to join me in Mexico Part II? email: hello@slowfashionworld.com

Lizeth Soto Rivas

Lizeth Soto Rivas

SFW Change-Maker & Founder Bohetnika

Lizeth Soto Rivas is the founder of Bohetnika. She has been recently assigned as official guide for Slow Travel Community. She is also behind the movement “Goes Latin” PopUp stores around Europe with events empowering Latin American fashion, and designers.

She is a graduate and expert in Communications, Social Media currently living in Berlin since 2014. Lizeth travels the world creating strong connections and global network. She loves photography, creative art, and have worked in international and local projects connected to artisan empowerment and textiles.

 

Slow Travel Diaries ft. Bohetnika – Mexico (Part II)

Following the Slow Travel Stories ft. Bohetnika from Mexico, Lizeth a traveler with heart, a passionate wanderluster and social entrepreneur share with us the second part of her journey. Volume two shows the impresive city of Oaxaca, this time with her husband Alex...

A Guide through Ethical & Sustainable Fashion Trade Shows

I always get questions about where to source, what trade shows are the right for their business. Then it comes the big word "Budget" which always come through our minds to make that decision when investing for traveling for venues and trade shows. Therefore I wanted...

Building a Community for Change-Makers

We finalize 2018 talking about our passion: Building global communities. This is not another 2018 recap, instead we aimed to get you some usefull insights on this post about what we've learned so far on growing consciously a global community connecting and empowering...

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