The Guardian of Embroidery and the Spirit of Cuetzalan

Cuetzalan del Progreso, Puebla. Get to know Rufina Villa Hernández and the philosophy of life that transforms a community

Masehual Cihuamej Collective, in Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico. (2023-08-24) by Manuel de Jesús Pérez GarcíaSecretaría de Cultura

Female protectors

Rufina Villa Hernández, a native of Cuetzalan and current resident of Tzicuilan, Puebla, is a member of an indigenous women's organization that has been protecting the families of her community since 1985.

I like to speak Nahuatl, to wear my typical clothes; I am proud to be from Cuetzalan and to be an indigenous woman. Rufina Villa

Embroidery from the Masehual Cihuamej Collective, in Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico. (2023-08-24) by Manuel de Jesús Pérez GarcíaSecretaría de Cultura

Maternal teachings

From the age of seven, Rufina's hands danced to the rhythm of embroidery; she learned the magic of this craft from her mother in an era when machines did not exist.

Embroidery from the Masehual Cihuamej Collective, in Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico. (2023-08-24) by Manuel de Jesús Pérez GarcíaSecretaría de Cultura

The path is embroidered together

Supported by the community, Rufina found the encouragement from a local teacher to refine her art, a reminder that there are always guides in our journey through life.

Masehual Cihuamej Collective, in Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico. (2023-08-24) by Manuel de Jesús Pérez GarcíaSecretaría de Cultura

Fabrics that transform

At the start of her marriage at 16, Rufina immersed herself in the world of embroidery as sustenance for her home and children; each thread was intertwined with love and responsibility.

Embroidery from the Masehual Cihuamej Collective, in Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico. (2023-08-24) by Manuel de Jesús Pérez GarcíaSecretaría de Cultura

Community and woven wisdom

Community ties strengthen Rufina's story. She learned from many, and alongside them she joined an organization that now has 100 women.

Embroidery from the Masehual Cihuamej Collective, in Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico. (2023-08-24) by Manuel de Jesús Pérez GarcíaSecretaría de Cultura

Cuetzalan women: a story of transformation

In 1985, Rufina was invited to join the group and became a key player as she was a witness and pillar of the integral development of Cuetzalan women.

Hotel Taselotzin, in Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico. (2023-08-24) by Manuel de Jesús Pérez GarcíaSecretaría de Cultura

Taselotzin: legacy and leadership

Since 2005, Rufina has managed the Taselotzin hotel, born from the heart of the community in 1997, a refuge and fair trade space for artisans.

Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico. (2023-08-24) by Manuel de Jesús Pérez GarcíaSecretaría de Cultura

A milestone of solidarity

With Rufina at the forefront of marketing and administration, the Taselotzin hotel has established itself as a benchmark in the solidarity economy.

Embroidery from the Masehual Cihuamej Collective, in Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico. (2023-08-24) by Manuel de Jesús Pérez GarcíaSecretaría de Cultura

Solidarity and transformation in Cuetzalan

Rufina is a reflection of the shared story of women who, when united, forged a path towards a better future. 

Embroidery from the Masehual Cihuamej Collective, in Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico. (2023-08-24) by Manuel de Jesús Pérez GarcíaSecretaría de Cultura

Forging an inspiring future in Cuetzalan

Together, with Rufina's guidance, they have woven a legacy of significant changes in the freedom and self-reliance of women artisans, and have inspired future generations.

Masehual Cihuamej Collective, in Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico. (2023-08-24) by Manuel de Jesús Pérez GarcíaSecretaría de Cultura

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