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Otomi Embroidery

About our drop-in centre tapestry

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For women, by women.

If you have visited the NSWC's Drop-in Resource Centre, you may have seen a beautiful, multi-coloured, and hand-embroidered tapestry on our wall. This tapestry was a gift to the centre, and has been proudly on display for years. We love this piece of art, and we know many women in our community do as well. Here is some information about who made this tapestry, and where.

The Otomi are a group Indigenous to the central plateau of Mexico, who have a long and rich history in the area. The Otomi people live in this region, and in the area of Tenango de Doria, Hidalgo, Mexico. This recognizable and hand-stitched embroidery style, also known as "Tenangos," has long been a feature of textile work in this community, and Otomi women have used this style for their clothing since before colonial contact. 

In the 1960s, Otomi women began selling their unique, hand-embroidered works worldwide, where the colourful and vibrant stitching has become beloved. Each Tenangos piece is painstakingly designed and stitched by hand, and can take up to 12 months to complete. The motifs in Tenangos typically reflect the beautiful plants and animals native to Mexico's central plateau, and the style is traditionally passed down from mothers to their daughters as a matrilineal skill.

Our entire staff and many of the women who attend our drop-in resource centre feel a special connection with and appreciation for this piece of art, and we feel privileged to share its beauty with everyone who visits. To learn more about Otomi embroidery, how to support Otomi women's Tanangos work, and more, feel free to explore the links below.

In recognition of the use of our drop-in centre tapestry's motifs in our 2024 International Women's Day Celebration and Benefit materials, the NSWC will be donating a portion of proceeds raised through event ticket sales to a charity organization that benefits women in the central plateau of Mexico.

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