Fall/Winter Artisans Beyond Borders Newsletter

Bordando Esperanza Exhibition, Devotional Arts workshops, U.S. start-ups, and more.

Bordando Esperanza/Embroidering Hope

If you are in Tucson, we hope that you can join us for our home church exhibition of contemporary retablos/religious and spiritual embroideries independently stitched by asylum-seekers at the border.

“Few can deny how powerful and enduring the role of faith is for individuals and families caught in forced migration. Bordando Esperanza/Embroidering Hope brings their stories to our communities, so that we may see and feel what is true and sacred for our neighbors.” from the viewer guide.

Paty’s hand-embroidered retablo of Jesus from the group exhibition of devotional embroideries.

The core group of embroiderers in the exhibition were stranded together for over a year and a half (2020 through 2021) at the shelter La Casa de Misericordia y de Todas Naciones in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, where they found safety, solidarity, and peace in embroidery.

Maker’s Program at la Casa de Misericordia y de Todas Naciones
Friends of Artisans Beyond Borders support guests to embroider, sew, and weave in the shelter’s dedicated maker space. Esther, staff extraordinaire, facilitates embroidery and teaches guests how to use the donated sewing machines.
Recovering Spirit through the Arts
Shelter Director Sister Lika with Administrator Consuelo at the shelter. On the wall is a grand textile embroidered by the guests and gifted to the shelter. Guests also embroidered the mantas/servilletas available on the table. Next to Sister Lika is a print of her hand-painted Icon of Guadalupe. On this day, Sister Lika wears a huipil woven at the shelter by Cecilia, an indigenous weaver featured in this recent WARP blog post..
Creating ‘Emancipatory spaces and searching for well-being’ in the shade of the mother tree at the shelter.

This summer Artisans Beyond Borders (ABB) was pleased to provide material support (along with grant funding from the UofA) for Elizabeth Gaxiola’s expressive arts project: La Casa de Papel: El Ruido de Tus Voces/Creating Emancipatory Spaces and Search for Well-being in our Borderlands. It was a great opportunity to have Liz working with the guests at la Casa de Misericordia y de Todas Naciones and also at the Kino Migrant Aid Center, as she attended to wounds of the heart and soul.

Liz Gaxiola facilitating trauma-informed expressive arts at la Casa de Misericordia y de Todas Naciones. Photo courtesy of the artist.
On the U.S. side ~ Devotional Border Arts Workshops

In keeping with our educational mission, with advance notice, ABB volunteer art facilitators can provide hands-on engaged contemplation (linking Art, Faith, and Social Justice) for visiting delegations and student groups here for border immersion. In contrast to the bleak politics of the border, Devotional Arts affirm, nourish, and empower.

Devotional Border Arts Workshop for visitors at Tucson’s Shalom-Mennonite Church
ABB volunteer facilitating

“People were so into it, they were working on their projects even in the airport while they were waiting for their planes.” Kat Smith, MCC Border Outreach

Un recuerdo/a memory of one’s own. The personal is political.

With the aid of a grant from the Mennonite Central Committee, which has a history of supporting community handwork that benefits the whole, we’ve been able to provide some of the embroiders waiting for asylum now in the U.S. with start-up funds to develop small craft enterprises. With donations to ABB, we can also source and send culturally aligned made-in-Mexico materials and supplies.

Most bordadoras/embroiderers have already suffered through their first year in the U.S., not being allowed to work. Now that they’ve been here a year and are able to legally be employed, the cost of work permits alone remains cost prohibitive.

Authentic manta cloth from Mexico stacked and ready to be shipped to bordadoras in the U.S.

The holidays give us all more opportunities to support hand-made fair trade and their makers by purchasing their wares wherever they’re sold in the U.S., or in Mexico. Artisans Beyond Borders offers original mantas (when available) at in-person events and exhibition openings, and also on the ABB website for donation. Volunteers with Voices from the Border also sell hand-embroidered mantas weekly at La Posada Farmer’s Market. Online, Salavision has opened a shop that includes beautiful hand-embroidered bags and mantas, and if you are in Ambos Nogales, in Mexico the Kino Border Initiative is now supporting the people’s hand-made arts through their Migrant Aid Center.

To host the exhibition Bordando Esperanza/Embroidering Hope and/or to inquire about Devotional Arts Workshops email: Contact@ArtisansBeyondBorders.org.

If you are interested in being a Friend of Artisans Beyond Borders: compiling maker bags from donated materials, helping to table, or part-time as a volunteer arts facilitator on either side of the border you can also email us at Contact@ArtisansBeyondBorders.org Spanish is helpful but not mandatory.

To keep trauma-informed arts and cultural craft programming going at the border and also invest in new families’ heritage skills here in the U.S., donate directly to www.ArtisansBeyondBorders.org.

La Casa de Misericordia y de Todas Naciones: an Inclusive shelter that welcomes all

To help with basic needs at the shelter – Food, clothing, staff – you can donate directly to the shelter:

To long-time supporters, we thank you! None of this could be possible without you.

Dios te bendiga/God bless you,

Friends of Artisans Beyond Borders

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