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Juliana Sernas #IAmMexican

A bright Zapotec flower

By Todito Centro

San Antonino Castillo Velasco, is a town of Zapotec origin that is located about 25 kilometers south of the capital of Oaxaca, is a town known for being the creator of one of the most distinguished regional costumes in Oaxaca. It is the place where artisan Juliana Martha Sernas Luis was born in 1963. Everyone knows her as Master Martha because she studied at the Regional Center for Normal Education and was the first woman in the town she studied.
He tells us that he started embroidering from the age of eight, because his mother embroidered a lot, had a huge range of threads and liked to play a lot with the colors in his embroidery; When he got married, a sister embroidered a girlfriend and a boyfriend on her cushions. He always gave things away. She tells us that her mother embroidered beautiful details, and that encouraged her to say: “Mom, I want to embroider a napkin” and so she began to embroider. At age 14 he began drawing with the help of his aunts, drawing and traditional embroidery.
In 2004, he met Father Hilarino, a peculiar priest, who went to the houses to ask what he could do, accompanied the people, liked to participate in the parties, and said: “Teacher, you have a lot to lead and I want you to join me in a company, the artisan women here are very poor and I want you to help me help them, ”Juliana replied:“ father, I don’t have money, how am I going to do it? ”, the father replied: “It’s not about money, it’s a matter of ideas,” and that’s how they formed a group of 25 women.
In 2005, students from the Regional University of the Southeast arrive with them to do their social service, they told them “to solve their sales problem, we have to place them on social networks and they need a name and a brand for their workshop” , The companion Teresita was the author of the name in Zapotec: Gürabini (: flowers, rabini: splendorous, bright) “ flowers that shine”, both for the flowers that shine in their blouses, as for all the craftswomen who are bright flowers. The young students gave them the image of the workshop, inspired by the roses of Castilla (symbol of the town), a needle because it is their work instrument and the color silver because, due to their age, all artisans wear proud gray hair in their hair, That’s why the workshop is called Aguja de Plata (Silver Needle).
Juliana’s idea is that each family has a workshop, that each new member starts with the group, strengthens and, when ready, separate from the group to form their family. This scheme is very pleasing to the people of San Antonino and the other groups have made it their own: “that gives Juliana tells us: “A problem we are facing is the plagiarism of our designs, the most serious case was that of an Argentine brand (Rhapsody), this shook us to all artisans and made us form the unit. We were given the task of seeking support, but sadly we realized that there was no institution to support us”; That is why the teacher urges her classmates: “the artisans are the ones who must do something, we cannot leave everything to the government, they are only for a while and we are artisans until we die, if we want our cultural heritage to be preserved to us it corresponds to us Act”.
In her career as artisan Martha Juliana has attended forums where she has shared the reality of her guild: “we are very selfish and we are divided and that is why the goals are not reached, it is very, but, also that they do not take advantage of the fact that we are divided, and so let us drift and do nothing for us; they have to do things, laws that can support what we are asking for. ”
For teacher Martha Juliana, the most valuable achievement they have had is the economic stability of their classmates through the work of embroidery, which they can say: I go to the Guelaguetza and they take 100 of their eggs or a basket of tomatoes to their compadre; That Silver Needle, be solvent and can pay for the work that their companions do. “I believe that what the father dreamed has been achieved, he is already resting, but in spirit, he accompanies me a lot,” she tells us excitedly.
This is Martha Juliana Sernas Luis, embroidery craftswoman who says goodbye to us saying that our country has a beautiful wealth, that each craftsman carries beautiful things in the soul, and invites all those artisan towns of Mexico that do not allow what is dying to die. our ancestors left us, and may we always be proud of who we are because, in that way we enhance our spirit.

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