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Oaxaca, Weaving, and Cornelia Lively

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Oaxaca, Weaving, and Cornelia Lively

Start with Metal, Add Cloth

CL began with precious metals -  however, the idea behind the business re-launch of 2019 was more than a re-create of some of the knockout artisan favorites you have loved for years.   When start-up research happened upon the shocking issues around fast fashion, not only did all shopping and trips to the mall come to a grinding halt, but a new mission was born.  

While artful, story-telling jewelry creates a way in which a thoughtful wardrobe could work better and smarter,  I found myself asking, “how can we do more?”.  One of the answers came not immediately, but eventually, out of something loved - the one-of-a-kind textiles worn by my mother and  grandmother, both of whom studied, admired, and carefully brought home huipiles, rebozos, and ruanas during years of travel to Mexico from Texas.   These garments were ones of story, ones that became softer and more treasured with time, ones that made an everyday outfit, “something wow”, colorful, interesting, unique, soulful. 


One idea and two meetings later - one on a sunny Boulder, Colorado morning with Annie Waterman of AOW Handmade and the next a rainy evening in Mexico City with Paula Martinez of Aid to Artisans -  and a door was opened to visit one of the most famous places in the world for the hand-created textiles so beloved in my family:  Oaxaca, Mexico.  

Oaxaca and a Vast Culture

Why Oaxaca?   Any visit to the markets of Oaxaca answers the question, as the sheer volume and diversity of stunning embroidery and weaving design render one in a state of blissful visual overload.   The variety of design and color stems from the fact that sixteen indigenous cultures exist in Oaxaca, all with their own language and specific textile art form.   These cultures flourish in verdant valleys surrounded by mountains, areas where conditions were favorable for agriculture and thus textile and natural dye production, long before the Spaniards arrived with their pedal loom.

Next Generation Weavers 

Today, next generation weavers in Oaxaca are pushing design and natural dye concepts to new levels, combining traditions handed down exclusively from family member to family member with modern designs and new combinations of natural dyes.  Joy abounds in the process.

Protection of Artisan Work 

For us at CL, there is the added importance of protecting the integrity of design that is both historical and honored by family tradition.   In a world in which a blouse in an Oaxaca market may be purchased and sent to another country to be reproduced en masse, we believe there is an ever growing need to protect  the artisan groups with whom textile works tell a unique and beautiful story.

cactus close up with red tunas

Just Getting Started

Our story is just getting started, as we add textiles, season by season, to the Cornelia Lively Collection.   Oaxaca is where the magic happens, and when Travel and Leisure named Oaxaca Best City in the World 2022, we have to agree.   Our partnerships and relationships, the beauty of shared culture, and yes, the mole, mezcal, and architecture, all make for many bests.

See you in Oaxaca,