Taller Leñateros, or The Woodlander's Workshop, was established 25 years ago in San Cristóbal. It is a really cool place - in a remodeled colonial house with a large outdoor courtyard this Mayan group in Southern Mexico has created a place for artists and those who want to become artists. The Woodlanders invent, teach and exercise the art of handmade paper, bookbinding, solar silkscreen, woodcuts and natural dyes.
The paper is mixed and colored in the backyard in large vats and is dried in the sun. Inside, there is a printing press where books, posters, calendars, and pieces of art are printed. We saw that many of the materials used are recycled agricultural and industrial wastes such as coconut husks, banana leaves, plants with natural dyes, and old newspapers - see below for pictures of some of the materials that are in the backyard of the taller (workshop).
Beyond being a great place to visit and learn about the papermaking process, the taller is a cultural society, an alliance of Mayan and mestizo women and men, founded in 1975 by the Mexican poet Ambar Past. It has many objectives, but mainly their purpose is, “the preservation and dissemination of Amerindian and popular cultural forms: song, literature and plastic arts; the rescue of old and endangered techniques such as the extraction of dyes from wild plants; and the generation of worthwhile and decently paid employment for women and men who might otherwise have no studies, no career, no future.”