The Mimbre de Tequisquiapan Project is an ongoing research started for the development of Traven for Nido muebles, working together with a family of craftsmen in Tequisquiapan, Queretaro.
Year / 2014 - Ongoing
During the development of the Traven collection we had the opportunity to learn the art of wicker weaving developed by Tequisquiapan craftmen. Tequisquiapan craftmen have decades working with rattan and other natural fibers to produce baskets and furniture types.
The development of his craftsmanship has gone through various stages of prosperity; Initially, in the '70s, they were dedicated to the production of baskets of different sizes and uses; some decorative and other functional, designed for both everyday use and for the increasingly growing tourism market in the region.
Eventually the craftmen recognized a more attractive product than basketry: furniture. Production of wicker furniture was becoming an increasingly prosperous phenomenon; sales were higher and with greater benefits. Profit margins from the sale of baskets were subpar with those obtained in the sale of a dining table with six chairs. Tequisquiapan Craftmen families prospered, shops opened and every workshop was dedicated to the production of wicker and wood furniture.
But this trend, like all others, was temporary. The craftsmen were unable to develop their offer and start generating more and better designs for their market, causing market saturation with increasingly similar products without new proposals; what it was once a big business collapsed soon.
Under this scenario Tequisquiapan craftmen were forced to go back to the production of baskets, forced to produce large quantities of product to keep the workshops that had been erected for the production of furniture. Their profit margins were reduced to a minimum, and even more worrying, his life was focused on surviving through work, re-structuring social dynamics now defined by an excessive production of baskets barely enough to live.
This was the reality that we find at the beginning of the project Traven: a hard life for producers defined by a high demand product that generates little profit margins. The question we are trying to answer is:
How can we create an attractive product for the consumer of crafts, which in turn, promotes a better quality of life for craftsmen?
This research is in its early stages; in the summer of 2015 a workshop with CEDIM students allowed, among other things, experimenting with transformation processes involving the use of a color technique with water-based inks.
Such experimentation generated promising early results; new and viable possibilities for the market thanks to its low investment and their high differentiation in relation to the current offer expressions.
In parallel we are about to start a 2nd stage of exploration around the development of new products that allow the integration of color as part of the language of the subject and promote an alternative to the reality of the artisans of Tequisquiapan.
The town of Tequisquiapan in southwestern Querétaro is a tourist town, which mostly caters to weekend visitors from Mexico City and the city of Querétaro.
The town’s reputation for handcrafts is part of its attraction for tourism. Tourism has impacted the production of crafts with greater quantity and variety. The most common types to the area are basketry and the making of furniture with willow branches, as well as wood: Furniture made with wood, rattan, wicker and willow and pine branches, mostly in colonial or “rustic” style. Basketry is the other traditional craft, mostly woven from willow branches and wicker for household use. The most traditional baskets are still made of willow, but other materials have been adapted such as synthetic, rattan, fabric and more.
Natural wicker is well known for its strength and durability, and for the high level of beauty and comfort that an expert craftsman can produce. Materials used can be any part of a plant, such as the cores of cane or rattan stalks, or whole thicknesses of plants, as with willow switches.