Come on a trip with us to Cuanajo, Michoacán

Posted by Efigenia Guzman on

Did you know we pick up our products directly from the artisans? We never have them shipped to us!

Each time I’m able to visit their hometown and have a personal interaction is an opportunity to grow deeper in trust and continue building a relationship. I try my best not to let time pass so we can continue to stay connected. 

On this occasion, we had to stock up on some pouches, specifically the backstrap loom pouches from Cuanajo, Michoacán. My husband joined me on this trip since it’s about 2 hours from my home. We usually make it a day trip so we can get the most out of it.  It’s one of my all-time fave routes because it’s near Pátzcuaro, Michoacán–a city that I love so much!

To drive to Cuanajo, we first have to cross through the Lago de Cuitzeo–one of the biggest lakes in México. It’s such a scenic route that I have to snap a picture every time I pass. There is a major drought happening right now in México and the lake is sadly drying up. I’ll talk more about it in a different newsletter!

About 1 hour into the drive, the scenery starts to change. We start driving up high mountains and start to feel the temperature drop. We slowly start to see fewer mesquites, thorn bushes, and nopales, and start seeing more tall pine trees and dense vegetation. 

Once there, we drove 10 minutes up a road to make it to the small town of Cuanajo. Cuanajo is known for its textiles and woodwork. Driving up you’ll see many stores with wooden furniture, toys, frames, and home decor. It’s pretty overwhelming to see so much variety. 

Many houses are made out of adobe and have teja (clay roof tile). It’s such an interesting contrast to see the traditional houses with present-day brick and cement houses. The air smells like pine trees and you have a 360 view of high mountains. 

We drive up to their home and walk through their home store. They have a home store and use it as another source of income.  

We walk to their patio and Maricela has the loom setup. I previously chatted with Maricela and asked if we could shoot some photos and learn more about this ancient technique. My husband started shooting some photos while I asked questions. I had a pretty good idea of how textiles were made using a backstrap loom, but seeing it firsthand is such a moment. 

It was such an honorable moment to observe an indigenous woman practice her ancestors' technique. This technique has been practiced during prehispanic times. The threads have changed over time, but the technique itself remains the same. 

After a long conversation and incredible shots, we grabbed the pouches and called it a day.  On our way back, we stopped in Pátzcuaro (a 15-minute drive from Cuanajo) and had some amazing caldo de res with corundas. It’s a P’urepécha cuisine staple. Caldo de res (beef broth) is a staple in my community as well, but in P’urepécha cuisine, it’s traditional to have caldo de res with corundas (triangle-shaped tamales made out of corn masa with no meat, wrapped in carrizo (reed plant) leaves. We also traditionally eat corundas but not with caldo de res. 

Fun fact: corundas are known as tamales de ceniza (tamales of ashes) in my hometown. Not sure why, but that’s how they’re known in my area. 

After eating, we start making our way home. Each trip makes beautiful memories and many lessons are learned. That is why picking up products for you is so important to me. I want to make sure I can get as much out of the interactions as possible and share it with you. 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop them below!

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