Producing the book
Award-winning poet and dream-weaver, Ambar Past,

collaborated with Maria to create, a limited-edition book, WASH, published and produced by the Taller Leñateros, a cooperative artist workshop based in Mexico that makes fine quality, hand-crafted paper and unique artisanal books.

Ambar designed the book as an altar book celebrating and re-imagining the washerwomen of the world. It contains work by fine photographers, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Graciela Iturbide, Jose Angel Rodriguez, Edward Curtis and Antonio Turok and is printed on white linen and hand-embroidered in white thread. A niche on the inside of the foldout altar contains a little missal book with six of Maria’s washerwomen monologues and additional photographs of the washline and washerwomen at work. Inside the back of the altar is a CD audio with an hour of river music.

In addition to her beautiful embroidery and nimble threadwork in the binding and construction of the book, Maruch, the Taller’s Shaman, a Virgin Mother of Seven, has blessed the book and the spirit of the women expressed within it. (Stay tuned - Maruch is currently working a line of hand-embroidered WASH cloths. These beautiful tea towels will be offered for sale with 100% of the proceeds going to the Taller Lenateros. This important revenue stream will help to ensure the health, vitality and living wisdom of this important cooperative.)

The Taller Leñateros, winner of the 2010 PEN Prize for Editorial Excellence, has been operating as a papermaking, printmaking, and bookmaking cooperative studio and store for over 35 years. Producing extraordinary books of original art, fiction, and poetry, the Taller is working to keep alive the papermaking traditions of Mayan culture. Natural plant fibers are cooked and rinsed, then blended with recycled paper to produce paper pulp. The pulp is then cast in molds or pressed onto metal sheets and dried in the sun. All proceeds from the WASH book go to support the Taller Leñateros and the preservation of this illuminating knowledge base.

Back to top