Crafting Futures Mexico

The residency ran in two parts. Both parts of the residency included cultural immersion activities, facilitated discussion, and collaborative development of work.

In February 2019, weaver Lynne Hocking-Mennie from Aberdeen travelled to Oaxaca to create work with the Bii Daüü Collective of artisan rug weavers, including Soledad Ruizz Mendoza, alongside designer Dalila Cruz from Mexico who was working with artisan basket weavers. Work was designed and created collaboratively during the month-long residency.

Soledad Ruizz Mendoza,Bii Daüü Collective

Soledad Ruizz Mendoza is a weaver at the artisan rug weaving Bii Daüü Collective, in Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Dalila Cruz

Female wearing a cap, standing in a field of wheat
Dalila Cruz

Dalila Cruz is a Oaxacan student at Tomas Bata University, researching biomaterials and biocomposites, trying to find better materials that are nature-based. She likes to use materials that can take us closer to nature. She has worked with textiles, metals, ceramics, wood, paper and bioplastics. previously, she has collaborated with Yahir Trujillo, Claudio Gerónimo and Juan Ruiz, artists from Oaxaca.

Dalila is creating Desironment, a media to share environmental issues and ecological creations that are friendly to the environment.

‘First, I was working with Lynne Hocking-Mennie and Colectivo Bii Daüü to create textiles with different patterns corresponding to different sounds from nature and the daily life inTeotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca.

I also worked with Soledad (from the Colectivo Bii Daüü) and Fiona to create panels that tell us a story about our practices and our connection with the wool, with the sustainability and our identity. I used one paper-based fish scale, embroidering it with wool from Mexico and Scotland, dyed with natural plants from both countries.

In September 2019, the three Mexican participants in the February 2019 residency – Dalila, Soledad and multidisciplinary designer Pilar Obeso Sánchez (Mexico City) – travelled to the Highlands and Islands to meet with Scotland-based makers Kate Davies, KDD & Co (west Scotland) and Fiona Hall, Camban Studio (Aberdeen). Makers continued discussions, explorations and creation of work at distance for 18 months (extended due to the Covid-19 pandemic) after their ten-day residency.

Two films of the residency are available to watch below the makers’ / designers’ profiles.

Pilar Obeso Sánchez

Pilar Obeso Sánchez, photographer: Soledad Ruizz Mendoza

Pilar Obeso Sánchez is a multidisciplinary designer and an independent curator focused on contemporary design in Mexico. She is currently a distinguished professor in the Footwear and Leather Goods Design speciality at CENTRO and a student of the Global Fashion Management master’s degree at the same institution.

She co-founded, along with Olga Olivares, the footwear and leather goods design studio Taller Nu (2011-2018) —with a unique focus on collaborative practices and social impact. Her work has been published by various media such as BBC News, The Guardian, Expansión, Revista 192, Código 06140.

She has worked as curator, co-curator and curatorial assistant for several exhibitions on design such as: Fashion in the Franz Mayer Collection (Franz Mayer Museum, 2020); Hilos y Entramados. Collaborative Practices in Mexican Design (multiple venues, 2016/2017); Mexican Chair. Design and Identity (Franz Mayer Museum, 2016); Back and forth. Contemporary Design in Mexico (multiple venues, 2014/2015); Nostalgia for the everyday (MODO, 2010/2011).

Kate Davies, KDD & Co

Female wearing glasses and a cream hand knitted jumper with a blue, red and yellow patterned yoke standing in the hills
Kate Davies

Kate wears many hats (or masks): she is a designer-maker (developing original garment styles and patterns for hand-knitting); a writer (the author of more than 20 books whose subjects range from feminist literary history to craft and disability); the owner of a small business KDD & Company (publishing books, manufacturing yarn and small-scale knitwear and using the company’s commercial arm to support a range of non-profitable artistic endeavours). In short, Kate enjoys making things—whether it’s a poem, a creative business, or a piece of art—and she loves learning about making. What she produces often combines the intellectual with the practical, and she strongly believes that critical enquiry and creative thinking can go very much hand in hand. The Crafting Futures residency provided an unparalleled opportunity for her to learn from other makers, both Mexican and Scottish, and opened a creative door which took her practice in a completely new direction.

‘During our residency in Braemar and the Isle of Lewis, we discovered how, in both Scotland and Mexico, textile traditions and landscapes were mutually defining and were able to share our own regional craft skills with each other, from natural dyeing to embroidery. For me personally, learning how to inkle weave completely from scratch with supportive Mexican and Scottish makers was crucial: helping me to approach this project with a completely open, beginner’s mind.  After the residency, exchanging pen-pal letters and objects with my collaboration partner, Pilar, allowed for a more playful and exploratory approach to Mexican / Scottish differences and connections. We discussed how popular culture, play and humour had been absolutely key to shaping our own creative identities, and discovered a shared childhood love of costume and dressing up. We brought our cultural aesthetics and senses of fun together in the work we then created: each inspired by the other to develop our own Cadaver Exquisito, a delicious bricolage of Mexican and Scottish flavours. In the trickster creatures Pilar and I designed and made for each other, cultural identity is something you can playfully exchange, embrace, defy, swap out, dress up in, put on, or take off.’

Read more about the work Kate developed following her residency in her Behind the Mask blog and enjoy some more images in Quieres bailar?

Fiona Hall, Camban Studio

Female bent over a white topped table stitching on to fabric, with objects hanging on the wall behind
Fiona Hall at work

Fiona Hall of Camban Studio is a textile practitioner based in the Northeast of Scotland working predominantly in printed textiles and print design. Her work features the colours and textures of the natural environments of Scotland. She examines methods to translate natural forms into designs using different methods of printing and reproduction, using the local ecology and plant life as both material and inspiration including Eco-Printing, Mono-Printing, Block-Printing, Screen-Printing and Digital Print. She is also actively growing her knowledge of natural dyes and inks. Overall, her work aims to create an expression of place into her aesthetic and work.

Sustainability, locality, and circularity have become strong themes in Fiona’s practice. She is driven to create impact through her work; better social, creative, cultural, environmental, and economic impacts. 2021 saw the launch of Camban Studio Community which seeks to pass on her craft and design skills through online courses with a focus on how nature and craft can improve feelings of wellbeing.