Faculty Advisor

Monica De Hart

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 2019


The southwestern region of Mexico is world known for its beautiful folk art that is high in quality and variety, and which derives from ancient indigenous traditions. Weaving and woodcarving are such pre-Hispanic traditions that have taught artesanos to care for the gifts that nature can provide. However amidst a global environmental crisis and a rise in socioeconomic barriers to indigenous community development, artesanos have had to find ways to uplift their families from poverty resulting in the exploitation of primary resources. This ethnographic exploration of two aspects of folk art production in Oaxaca, Mexico uncovers the ways in which artesanos understand the cultural and environmental sustainability surrounding artisan livelihood in a growing globalized neoliberal market. I focused on analyzing how these artisans view themselves and their role in preserving this threatened way of life; this includes finding a market for their craft, balancing tradition and innovation, utilizing traditional community systems of organizing, and maintaining indigenous spiritual values of coexistance with their surrounding environment. Overall, this projects hopes to illuminate how indigenous artisanal practices have developed in relationship to their rural environmental contexts.




University of Puget Sound