Creaciones Presa de Barajas – Presa de Barajas, Jaliscoo, México

Presa de Barajas is a small town of about 500 people in west central México. The area is known for its agriculture, including agave, which is used to produce its world-famous tequila. Although less than two hours by car from thriving Guadalajara, Presa offers few employment opportunities, especially for women.

We first connected with the vibrant women of Creaciones Presa de Barajas through a

UW-Madison Field Course in 2013. As part of the course, students and faculty met with these creative women artisans who used the technique of “tatting” to make doilies. Called “Frivolite” in Spanish, tatting is an ancient form of lacemaking, made by combining a series of intricate knots and loops with a very small handheld “shuttle”.

Course leaders brought several tatted doilies back to Madison and asked our student organization to sell them. Our response was: “when was the last time you bought a doily”? Although popular in Mexican households and made with exceptional skill, they were not a product we believed we could market successfully in Madison. However, Design Studies associate professor, Carolyn Kallenborn, and students in the newly created Global Artisans Course at UW-Madison saw potential. Through numerous iterations between the Mexican artisans, Carolyn, and the students, they transformed the doilies into fabulous, tatted jewelry crafted of tiny glass beads and intricate thread patterns. Thus, Creaciones Presa de Barajas was born and the beautiful jewelry they produce are among our most popular products.

In addition to their popularity in Madison, the women of Creaciones Presa de Barajas have successfully sold their products at local art fairs in Guadalajara and participated in the prestigious and lucrative Santa Fe International Folk Art Festival in New Mexico.

This collaboration is truly a success story. Our friends from Creaciones Presa de Barajas have sold thousands of dollars’ worth of handmade products, from delicate bracelets to elaborate shawls and sweaters. This project provides needed income while preserving a craft passed down from their grandmothers. In addition, group members run their own business, use their creative talents, develop new friendships, and build confidence and self-esteem.

Have a look at Carolyn’s short video to see these talented ladies at work:



Bringing Mixtec palm weaving to market.

Arte Palma preserves the long-standing Mixtec tradition of weaving with palm, harvested by Arte Palma within their village. This family-run business provides work within three rural towns to earn much needed income for their family and the surrounding community.


An Organic Tapestry-weaving cooperative dedicated to restoring Zapotec culture.

Bii Dauu, based in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca produces high quality weavings made with all natural dyes and fibers grown in the cooperative’s garden, locally-sourced plants and insects . This cooperative of five families is dedicated to restoring Zapotec culture by preserving techniques pursued for centuries in this village.


Zapotec Spirit Cultivated through Contemporary Woven Bags .

Weaving is a centuries old tradition in Teotitlan that the Mendoza Ruiz family keeps alive creating beautiful woven bags from handspun yarn. Their elaborate designs incorporate imagery from the local Zapotec ruins. Their entire family has a role in this business that sustains their family as well as supports other families in the community.


Narrating their lives with quilting & embroidery.

Hormigas Bordadoras bridges the gap between quilting and embroidery to create unique, one-of-a-kind art pieces that narrate the lives of the women of Tanivet. The powerful stories that are stitched to life showcase powerful messages about immigration, but also colorful creations of daily life in Tanivet from the roosters to the flowers. This art is contributing economically to their families so that their loved ones don’t have to leave their village to find work.


100% cotton hand woven scarves on fly-shuttle looms.

Textile artisan Rodrigo Hernandez and his family weave 100% cotton scarves on fly-shuttle looms from their home in Mitla, Oaxaca. This region of Mexico has been known for their high quality textile production since pre-Hispanic times. Co-design scarves are available at The Marketplace’s pop-up shops; these are beautifully woven scarves were hand-dyed by UW students led by Associate Professor Carolyn Kallenborn.