By Brian Rojas
For this series, we are highlighting local Santa Monica artisans that are part of the Market Exchange project, initiated and facilitated by the artists Cog•nate Collective. Market Exchange is a collaboration between Santa Monica artisans and Cog•nate Collective that creates platforms for empowerment by establishing alternative economic forms of self-determination for local crafts people and small businesses. This collaboration is dedicated to honoring the richness of artisan production in Santa Monica towards developing a community-envisioned and community-directed marketplace that will amplify the works of local artisans and artists, while providing sustainable economic opportunities. You can learn more and purchase artisanal products at marketexchange.18thstreet.org. In this post, we highlight artist Ines Garcia.
Ines Garcia was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and moved to the United States in 1985, settling in Santa Monica. Ines has been dedicated for a few years now selling earrings, keychains, necklaces, bracelets, telar bags, scarves, and cotton blouses. They’re all made by hand by artisans in Oaxaca Mexico. The artisans are indigenous people and they make their products without any formal education, only from thought and skill from techniques passed down through generations. This is their tradition.
Ines started promoting a lot of these products because she realized that a lot of people in Santa Monica don’t know much about Oaxaca culture. She explains the artisanal technique of creating the color comes from a bug that lives on cactuses, (called the grana cochinilla), obtaining a red dye (carmesí). When mixed with lemon juice it creates shades of red, and when combined with alkaline it changes to purple, gray, black, orange, violet and many other tones. These colors are used to stain wood and paint them in different designs, as well as dye textiles and cotton threads for bags (telar), scarves, rugs, and more. Despite the fact that Oaxaca culture is vast and diverse, Ines feels she is only exposing a little portion of it.
IN HER OWN WORDS (excerpt from an interview with Ines Garcia)
“Really, what I would like the most is that our art does not disappear with time, that is why I hope that adults from other parts of the world and also children can get to know our diverse cultures and crafts of Oaxaca. I like to participate in the events because there are many people who admire what you sell. What I want is to make ourselves known so that people are interested in my state and country Mexico. I would like other people to help promote various traditional crafts. Thank you for supporting the artisans.”
(In the original Spanish) “
Realmente lo que más me gustaría es que nuestro arte no desaparezca con el tiempo, por eso deseo que, los adultos de otros lugares del mundo y también los niños puedan conocer nuestras diversas culturas y artesanías de Oaxaca. Y a mi me gusta participar en los eventos porque hay mucha gente que admira lo que vendes. Lo que quiero es darnos a conocer para que la gente se interese por mi estado y país Mexico. Me gustaría que otras personas ayudaran a promover diversas artesanías. Gracias por apoyar a los artesanos.”