Size: 13"w x 16"h with 4.5" gusset
Material: natural indigo dyed wool, cow leather
Handmade in Mexico
This show-stopping tote is lightweight and structured to carry everything you need - it is perfect for a laptop - and then some.The natural indigo dyed wool is sourced from Oaxacan sheep, and hand spun, resulting in stronger fibers that contain more natural lanolin and are more resilient to wear - and also better at absorbing dye - than wool spun by machine. Indigo is native to the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca and the strain grown there produces one of the most powerful, intense colors in the world. Read more about the natural indigo and wool of Oaxaca on our blog.
The indigo wool is complemented beautifully by a warm cognac leather, unpainted and unlined. The bag is stitched simply without need for plastic fillers, toxic glues or chemicals. Our partner weavers come from a community that is famous for its natural dyes, particularly of wool, and its weaving. This is a timeless tote, meant for all seasons, but sure to warm up your winter!
Impact: each bag provides 5 days of work to women in dying and weaving, and 7 days of education for girls.
The woman behind the bag:
Josefina Jimenez is from Teotitlan del Valle, the ethnic Zapotec community famous for its wool and weaving, in the state of Oaxaca. She is part of a group of 10 women called D`Gunna Ruy Che Lady, which means women who weave. "My work is weaving, it is the work that comes from my grandparents, passing from generation to generation, it is what I like to do." She says the process of working with natural dyes is long, but "this work is so beautiful, so unique, when you finish something that you put so much work into you value it so much.... When people buy our products in places like the United States, France, it makes us very happy. We work with more emotion knowing that people far away appreciate them so much."
The group organized themselves in 1992 to seek a loan to improve their weaving equipment and be able to fulfill larger orders. "It was very hard for us, it was the first group that formed in our community where women have been accustomed to be in the home, looking after their husband and children, so it was an affront really to the community and to our families, many of them were not supportive of women going outside the pueblo."
Josefina has learned a lot through workshops with our artisan partner La Red Niumatat, including about her rights. "For women the right to the land is the most important. In our community women don't have the right to land. They have made us believe it is only for men. When you have a son it belongs to him and then girls live with their husbands. If a woman doesn't get married she doesn't have right to anything. I have my land and I am very happy I got it thinking of myself and my rights."
Product photography: Rich Begany Photography. Model: Joellen Nicholson.