At Collectivitea, my goal is to share with you the work of organizations that are doing fantastic work, especially with artisanal textile traditions. As a photographer, I have always been fascinated with the visual impact of textiles. I want to capture and share their story as I see it through the lens of a camera, but I am also in awe of the people and processes that are involved in the making- designers, weavers, printers and others. That’s a storytelling that often spans generations, and involves a wide variety of skills, both traditional and contemporary- a fusion that I am passionate about. This Textile Tuesday, I want to introduce you to Hecho, a Oaxaca, Mexico-based organization that partners and works with artisans in Mexico and Guatemala. Hecho’s Founder and Creative Director is Ehren Seeland. On her travels around the world, while involved with international development work, Ehren connected with a number of government agencies, NGOs and skilled artisans throughout Asia, Europe and Latin America. She was inspired to partner with them to showcase the handmade traditions, to share their stories with the wider international community and to build an ethical and sustainable business. Hecho offers a curated selection of textiles, pottery and wooden products for you and your home at their online store and through select stockists.
“Hecho is a Spanish word that refers to the act of making – “to make” or “made”. We feel that this word symbolizes the core principles of our practice in reference to the handmade process that serves as the heart of our custom pieces, and speaks to our efforts in growing positive relationships with our artisan partners. In addition to this, Hecho also speaks to the effective creation of various channels for artisans in the developing world to better connect with the international market, along with our ongoing narrative that focuses on sharing their intriguing stories with the world.
A small group of hand-selected artisans in Mexico and Guatemala serve as the base of the Hecho collaborative partners. These are incredibly hardworking, knowledgeable and creative individuals who are dedicated to their respective crafts, and upholding family and cultural traditions.
The majority of the featured pieces that are included on the company website are the result of custom product development between Hecho and our artisan partners. Many of these works are made exclusively for our stock. While Hecho is able to offer insight into customizing handmade pieces for the international market, along with expertise around marketing and storytelling, it is the highly developed skills and technical input of the artisans that are truly essential to this process. It is our honor and privilege to work with our growing roster of artisan partners. We also actively maintain a special focus on supporting women in their creative work.
Hecho is committed to transparency and ethical sourcing practices. When custom client orders are submitted to our artisan partners, a 50% deposit is always paid when every order is placed – both for good faith and also so that the artisans do not need to use their own funds for materials. Hecho manages the production process with regular meetings and updates, and pays the remainder of the balance in full upon successful completion of every order.
Empowerment and development are important to the work that we do. Hecho works with artisan partners on projects to further their marketing potential and future success. Examples of this include used smartphone collection, donation and training for business practices. It also includes documentation of making processes and stories that are shared widely with the public, as well as with artisan partners for their own use. In the interest of helping to broaden their client bases, Hecho works with artisan partners to help streamline production and proofing processes that are geared towards working with international clients. In short, this is a business partnership, and with this, both the makers and Hecho hold each other to a high standard.
The goal of our efforts at Hecho is to support the storied traditions of generations of makers, and further a growing movement of quality over quantity. In addition to this, we aim to consistently develop and share new artisan-made products that simultaneously help to support artisan families in their creative practice and livelihoods, while actively contributing to raising awareness around traditional making processes with in-depth storytelling, along with working to provide access to the sublime pieces that these talented hands produce. The more of their beautiful work in the world – the better.”
All images are courtesy of Ehren Seeland.