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It all started in San Miguel.

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It all started in San Miguel.

That is why we introduce Cornelia Lively in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, a place some say is sheer magic. I would agree, as my time there in 1996 proved there may very well be a force field of creative good underneath the charming cobblestone streets. My plan was to stay two weeks. I stayed a year.

San Miguel - Early Days - Cornelia Lively

Mexico was a natural inclination for the sabbatical from corporate life that became my year in San Miguel. My mother’s own “time off” from life in Houston in 1979 was defined in one word: Guadalajara. Almost twenty years later, I too chose Mexico, the goal not only time off, but also conquering the language. I arrived armed with a Spanish dictionary and a book I had purchased because the beautiful Zen cover had caught my eye. The name of the book was The Artist’s Way, the author Julia Cameron, and I had no idea what “way” she was talking about.  

Indeed, the way became apparent, as only it could in San Miguel, as soon painting classes at the famed Belles Artes were the focus of life.   When a dear friend arrived to see just exactly what her former corner-office-loving colleague was doing somewhere in the middle of Mexico, big things happened.   Strolling the 17th century streets through the artisan shops and markets, she turned to me and said, “You know, your paintings are allright, but you have to get focused - this jewelry, it’s incredible. Start designing". Friendships... so often the fuel and the fire behind an unexpected blessing in life. 

Now, after a pause of dedicated time for family and motherhood,  this business of art and artisan work is launched anew, with the name Cornelia Lively, my grandmother's.   Her sense of style, elegance, love of travel, appreciate for textiles and jewelry, as well as her masterful skills at the sewing machine, will always be legendary in our family of Texas women.  Growing up making clothes with all of her family members, she could never have imagined that the clothing industry would some day become second only to petrochemicals in exacting harm on our environment.  So, in this respect, the  "why" of our business is inspired by someone who created beauty in clothing, but lived by "waste not, want not."   Beauty we wear expresses who we are, but this beauty cannot be damaging -ever. 

As our CL team moves forward, ever so slowly in the age of CV19, we are committed to honoring this ethos - wasting not.  Join us on the path, as we introduce jewelry of recycled metals made in NYC, pedal and backstrap loom textiles from Mexico, local artisan jewelry from both San Miguel and Denver, and soon, our collection of slow fashion dresses made in NYC.  Cornelia would love it.  

Emily Greer Henderson
Founder, Cornelia Lively

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