The MZ Blog

Weaver Workshop: Design & Color Theory

Weaver Workshop: Design & Color Theory

Can you each briefly explain where you are from, your background and why you were drawn to working with MZ?
Susann: Through my studies of Fashion Design in Berlin, Germany, I found myself interested in learning more about the artisanal fair trade movement. I see old craftsmanship as an essential basis for future fashion.  When I came across Manos Zapotecas, I immediately fell in love with the beauty the weavers were creating. Working with people who practice the ancient handicraft techniques is an opportunity for me to learn from local artisans and empower them with my knowledge in return.
Miriam: I live in Stockholm, Sweden, but I am originally from a small town up north. Always fascinated by textiles, I've spent the last three years studying weaving and needle work at a very old school called Handarbetets Vänner/Friends of Handicraft in Stockholm. After my graduation I wanted to travel and gain more knowledge and inspiration about handmade textiles for everyday use.The colors and textile traditions of Oaxaca had enchanted me for a long time. When I found Manos Zapotecas, I just knew it was the perfect opportunity.

What was the title and topics covered in this workshop?
Susann: The theme of the workshop was "Design and Color." On the first day we covered topics including the theory of layout and design and as well as the color wheel,  and how that can be use to create harmonic color schemes. Day One of the workshop was a lot of fundamental theory, and on the following day we offered opportunities to put these theories into effect. 
Miriam: On the second day, we only had practical tasks; first finding objects in the house and garden and then tracing them on paper with crayons. Then we created mood boards, and after that, everyone got to draw designs with inspiration from their mood boards. 
Susann: At the end every designer was able to present their own design, considering layout, color and expressions.
Miriam: Everyone took these exercises very seriously, and what was supposed to be a four-hour workshop took the whole day! 
What was the main goal and do you think this was accomplished?
Miriam: The main goal was to remind the weavers of certain "rules" when designing. Not hard and fast rules, but helpful reminders, to use when you get stuck creating a design for example. We hope they can look back to the workshop material we made to support their design process and color selection. We had good discussions during and after each part of the workshop, so I know these ideas will stay with them.
Are there any highlights you can share?
Susann: We were overwhelmed by their motivation and their willingness to learn. Everyone was patient and concentrated, and we were really impressed with the work the weavers were sharing with us. It was truly a harmonic and fun atmosphere.
Miriam: I'd say the highlight has been the sharing of ideas and thoughts, and a mutual feeling of respect of each other's knowledge. We were honored that they could take time in their very tight schedules to actually both play and be serious for two days! 
Shop Feature: Live Enlightened And Free

Shop Feature: Live Enlightened And Free

The LEAF Shop caught our eye when they posted a photo on Instagram of their creative and vibrant display featuring MZ bags. We reached out to owner Chris Parlin to find out more about their business, and vision. 

Chris: The name of my shop is LEAF - Live Enlightened And Free. It is located in Carlsbad, California in Bressi Ranch Village.

MZ: How would you describe your offerings?

Chris: LEAF offers a conscious shopping experience. We provide a wide range of mindful gifts, many of which are fair trade, handmade, and often local. We like people to feel good about what they buy so we put a lot of thought and good vibes into sourcing our products.

MZ is the perfect candidate for my store. Not only are they beautiful and handcrafted, but they are also fair trade. They fit the style and aesthetic of the store in a conscious way. MZ is the type of company I actively seek when looking for new products.

MZ: What was the motivation for starting your business?

Chris: From a very young age I've always had a love and passion for the unique and artistic. I've always wanted a place where I could share that side of myself with others. This is my way to give back not only to local people but also to the world community. I love crystals, world religions, and learning about people and their life experiences so I created a place that I love and that I am passionate about so I could inspire others to follow their own way, their own ambition.

MZ: What drives you?

Chris: The biggest thing that drives me to do what I do are the peoples' lives that I impact in a positive way. I don't want the store to be just a place where people come to shop; I want it to be an experience for people to feel good, grow and nurture their own creativity and spiritual journey.

I'd like to encourage people to not give up on their dreams and to share their gifts with the world. Every dream is important, no matter how small.


An Ethical Gift Guide: Especially for HIM

An Ethical Gift Guide: Especially for HIM

We started off our ethical gifting series discussing alternatives to traditional gifts, such as volunteering or donating in place of traditional presents. However, if you're looking for something to wrap (or unwrap!) this holiday season, look no further than our Ethical Gift Guide for All, selected gifts especially for her, and now, our picks for the men in your life, sourced only and always from conscious brands. 

Fynn Wash Bag by Meyelo 

Brass Hook Keyring by Nisolo 

Madras Shirt by Industry of all Nations 

Viajero Duffel by Manos Zapotecas

The Cashmere Beanie by Everlane 


Cypress Fig Personal Fragrance by Apolis 

Leather iPad Sleeve by Nisolo

Leather Tech Cord Organizer by Connected Artisans 

 Square Brass Ring by Meyelo 

The City Jacket by Everlane 

Transit Issue Table Candle by Apolis

Leather Glasses Case by Red Clouds Collective 

 Happy Holidays!