Chicapa de Castro, Oaxaca. From her home in Chicapa de Castro Oaxaca, the 74-year-old artisan Eva Pérez Sánchez “Eva Ru” makes regional costumes of cadenilla embroidery, one of the traditional outfits worn by women on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and that despite the Covid-19 pandemic continues to do so, it even already has orders for next year.
Eva has been making this garment for more than 60 years, which is used mainly in the celebration of “las velas” —typical dances that are celebrated in this area of Oaxaca—, but now due to this health emergency, they are interrupted.
She thought that when the festivities were suspended, the work would end, but it was not, fortunately, the orders continue to arrive and every month she delivers a regional costume, consisting of a petticoat and a huipil, and also makes two more garments, which contributes to their family finances.
“The work continues, it has not stopped, since March to date I have already made six regional costumes and at least 12 huipiles, people like to wear them a lot, and I thank you for coming and although there are no parties, the orders do not stop, on the contrary, they continue to be made ”.
The regional costumes of cadenilla embroidery, unlike those of embroidery and weaving, are made using a sewing machine, similar to that used by tailors, but smaller, in addition, thin threads of multicolored silk are used according to the various designs selected. of customers.
To receive her clients, the artisan has established a sanitary protocol, only the client enters using a mask, in addition to healthy distance, to avoid contagion and disinfects before and after each fabric and the silk threads that she uses to make them.
“Not even that disease called Covid stops the production of these garments, on the contrary, people come and visit me, they bring me their fabrics and their threads and here I am making them little by little until they are finished.”
Making a regional costume requires a lot of creativity and patience, she spends almost ten hours a day, everything will depend on the client’s taste, and of course, as a master craftswoman that she is, Eva always gives her garments an original and unique touch.
Because Eva is a population at risk because she is an older adult, she does not leave her home at all, and it is her grandchildren and children who are in charge of looking for the material, although with difficulties because the stores and bonnet shops are only open from Monday to Monday. Sunday, and with limited hours.
The pandemic came to change everything,” says Eva, but not like that, the desire and strength to continue working, because, despite her age, she is an active woman from her sewing machine.
Unique designs with a handmade touch
One of Eva’s greatest achievements, in her 60 years of work, are her two unique designs in this cadenilla embroidery technique, the first one she made more than 30 years ago when one of her daughters turned 15 years old, and the second of 20 years ago that she made with the help of her husband Rufino Pineda, who is a carpenter by trade.
In addition, in all the garments that she makes, despite the fact that it is a design that already exists, he always puts a touch of her own, which makes it unique.
“I have been told that there are the same designs of mine, but it is not like that, each garment is different because everything is made to the client’s taste, there are no equal pieces, that is the key to being an artisan, this trade that has given me everything and I am passionate about it, ”she says.
She does not have the same garments even though it seems so and that is what has characterized her in the preference of her clients, one of them is the Mexican designer Alejandra Martínez Spíndola, who has worn her regional costumes in various countries of the world such as Paris, France and other parts of Europe.
You have plenty of desire and attitude. Eva is dynamic and active and will continue working even with a pandemic as long as she has strength in her feet, which are the ones that make the back and forth of the sewing machine pedal, and with her hands she shapes the regional costumes.
“Here nobody complains, nobody says no, we all cooperate, we are not waiting for the government to give us, that is our ideology, to work with passion in what we know how to do, for example, with the regional costumes that I love and I love passionate ”, she concluded.