COLOTLAN, Mexico – The inhabitants of this economically disadvantaged town in the western Mexican state of Jalisco are battling to salvage an embroidery tradition that is its claim to fame but which could be dying out due to lack of youth interest.
Pedro Carrera, 85, an artisan who is one of the staunchest defenders of “piteado” stitching, told EFE that the tradition dates back decades in Colotlan, regarded as the global capital of this intricate craft, and lamented that it may not survive.
“There are still many of us now, but if we keep going like this in 10 or 20 years I think all of this is going to go away,” he said inside his workshop.
Don Pedro, as he is affectionately called by local residents, wants his grandson and other young people to take up an interest in piteado, a technique in which thread from the fiber of the century plant is embroidered in decorative patterns onto leather products such as belts, hats, saddles, purses, shoes, jewelry and murals.
“It’s a pleasure for me to know that an apprentice will continue my artisanship. Several have learned with me and have gone out and have their own workshop,” Carrera said proudly.