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American-Honduran Artistic Collaboration

Artist Pamela Nelson
Photo by Allison V. Smith

Because there is no traditional embroidery in Honduras, we asked Dallas artist Pamela Nelson to design the first pillows and table runners for us so that the products would appeal to customers in the United States. Pamela’s paintings and collages are influenced by the quilting and embroidery she watched her grandmother do so they readily translate into fiber art. Barbara Velhum, one of the women who helped start the first co-op, is a designer who has also created several pieces for Honduras Threads. Our products are an artistic collaboration. The Honduran women take Pamela’s and Barbara’s line art and add their own art with their selections of colors, fabrics and embroidery stitches.

Materials

We buy the background fabrics, primarily cotton twill or cotton blends, in Honduras. The appliqué fabrics are donated from individuals’ closet and drawer fabric stashes and fabric showrooms in the Dallas Design District. We love that this fabric isn’t being wasted. The embroiderers are incorporating it into unique pairs or one-of-a-kind creations. All of the embroidery is done by hand. Each co-op has a sewing machine to sew the backing on the pillows and table runners. Because two of the communities have no electricity, Honduras Threads bought them generators as part of their start-up equipment. They power up their generators once a week or so to iron the appliqués on new pieces and to use the sewing machine to close their finished pieces.