I took a stand at a local Christmas market just before Christmas, because, you know, I didn't already have enough going on. Markets are funny things, you never really know what to expect of either the punters or the other stall holders, and the range of products is usually, um, pretty diverse, and not always in a good way. What I really didn't expect to see, was a stand selling the most exquisite authentic Mexican Otomi textiles on a stand a few aisles away from mine...
I've loved Otomi textiles for years, and my new Tropica collection was influenced by them (along with traditional textiles from Hawaii and Panama), but I had only ever seen them online, not having made it to Mexico yet in my travels. They were everything I'd imagined they'd be in the flesh - each piece of fabric is embroidered in beautiful colours and different designs by hand, taking weeks or months depending how many women are working on a piece.
The stand was occupied by the lovely Kate Clark and Lucy Montes de Oca, who are friends and now business partners in the recently launched Montes & Clark. Lucy's husband is Mexican, and whilst visiting his family in Mexico she discovered and fell in love with Otomi textiles (well, who wouldn't!?). She spent several months there, researching and seeking out cooperatives and individuals producing the finest textiles, bringing them back to the UK to make into cushions, throws and lampshades. I hear wall hangings will be available soon too.
I dream of one day owning a huge throw for my bed, which would most definitely be an heirloom piece. Until that day I'll have to (happily) make do with a cushion.
I think you'll be hearing a lot about Montes & Clark in the press this year, and everyone in the UK will go nuts for Mexican textiles, so get in first before everyone else does. The Americans have been on to it for like ever, so it's about time we caught up.
Oh, and did you know that 2015 is the year of Mexico in the UK, and the year of the United Kingdom in Mexico? Nope, me neither. To strengthen the bond between us apparently, so really, it would be rude not to buy something wouldn't it?
Hasta la vista, baby.