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OTAMI [ō-tä-mē]

Lark’s love for Mexican Otomi fueled the launch of Larkin Lane. “I am originally from St. Louis where learning to needlepoint or embroider from your mom is like a rite of passage. As children, we always wore traditional smocked and embroidered outfits. When I traveled to Mexico with my mom, I was automatically drawn to these textiles and their saturated colors.”

Lark especially loved the monochromatic Otomi. “I thought they had such a chic look.” When she began working as a designer, Lark combined the Otomi textiles first with decorator fabrics and trims and later with handmade textiles from other parts of the world. “I just loved how they could be incorporated into different kinds of decor. That’s what got me into combining these textiles with elements from other countries. The whole was greater than the sum of the parts.”

THE PROCESS

Each Otomi or Tenango textile is hand embroidered on muslin by the Otomi Indians in the Mexican state of Hildalgo, reflecting the culture’s passion for color and design. Using centuries-old techniques, artisans harvest vegetables, fruits and barks to create natural dyes. The rich colors against the muted muslin result in a striking use of positive and negative space.

The flora and fauna depicted in the needlework have persisted for centuries, dating back to ancient cave paintings from the Mayan period. The textile originally appeared in traditional costume dress, but now is more commonly found in accessories like table runners and pillows. Lark handpicks each Otomi textile for Larkin Lane directly from the artisans.