The origins of Tejidos Purépecha project began in the Eastern Coachella Valley as a collaboration with the residents, ACTA, and Building Healthy Communities (a project of the California Endowment). In an effort to promote health and well-being, an on the ground approach employed by ACTA asked the indigenous Purépecha, whose presence in the valley exceeds 15 years, who constituted their cultural assets. Through a series of meetings and gatherings, residents identified among their local cultural treasures, master artist Natividad Vasquez whose skill at embroidery was exemplary. Building upon the success of embroidery gatherings, the community was galvanized towards advocacy on other fronts.
Funding from ACTA’s Living Cultures Grants Program in 2016 will support a 10-week session of Purépecha embroidery for 30 consistent practitioners who wish to continue their learning and skills with master artist Natividad Vasquez. Beginning and intermediate sections will be offered so that new people can be welcomed into the sewing circle. The free sessions begin with a traditional meal and are an important gathering space for the community. Learners are multigenerational, including a few men, but are primarily made up of women.
The following video, produced by ACTA, spotlights this women’s embroidery group, Tejidos Purépecha: