Embroidering Pieces of Place
Throughout history and across cultures, fabric and needlework have been symbolic means to identify ethnic group and social status. This chapter reviews research conducted in Mexico that explored the potential use of traditional craft, artesenia. In the Lake Patzcuaro Region of Michoacán, embroidered story cloths, tela bordada, originally drew on themes from ancient mythology and have evolved to depict daily life and rites of passage. The research focused on gaining an understanding of the materials and processes of artisanal craft, within the context of place and culture through art making. Place is an important component of the stories we tell and provides context of culture in relation to self, others, and the environment and leads to identity formation. Participants engaged in the creation of embroidered story cloths that reflected their personal experiences, demonstrating the potential for using traditional craft in these communities and others with handcraft traditions to enhance cultural connection and increase wellbeing.