Michoacán has the largest number of handicraft processes in Mexico, the result of a fusion of cultures that is manifested in a varied craftsmanship, of great aesthetic value and diversity of techniques. Handicrafts made with vegetable fibers and basketry is probably the oldest technique than pottery and textiles and occupies an extremely important place in the popular art of the Lake Zone. In Ihuatzio, as well as in the islands of Lake Patzcuaro such as Janitzio and Jarácuaro, beautiful decorative pieces are woven with chuspata, rice straw, wheat straw or panícua, palm weavings and fibers from lake plants and other agaves. Ihuatzio, on the shores of Lake Patzcuaro has been recognized for the high quality pieces woven with chuspata, being the main source of income for the community. Weaving with chuspata is a technique originating in Michoacán, the most representative weaving patterns are chain, petate and twisted. The chuspata is a reed that grows on the shores of Lake Patzcuaro, which is harvested, dried in the sun and moistened to obtain flexibility. This piece was made by renowned artisan Mario López, noted for his innovation in the creative design of chuspata weaving. It is distinguished for being completely hand-woven and varnished, it represents a turtle and is characterized by a rigid and resistant chain weave in a natural tone. Besides being an ornamental piece, it has the versatility of opening its trunk-like lid. The chuspata is a reed that grows on the shores of Lake Patzcuaro and is harvested by artisans from Ihuatzio. In general, the economic conditions of the weavers of basketry with natural fibers are quite precarious, the conditions of the land and the general poverty make the artisans have as their only sustenance the little income they receive from the weaving of handicrafts with vegetable fibers. After being harvested, the chuspata is dried in the sun. It is moistened for several hours so that it becomes flexible and can be woven into multiple shapes. The chuspata stands out for its rigid and resistant weave, which makes it ideal for decorative objects. The cultural heritage of chuspata weaving has been preserved by popular transmission in Tzintzuntzan, Tererio and Ihuatzio. Chuspata handicrafts are generally woven in family workshops where they weave crossed strips forming what the artisans call resplandor to begin the interweaving of the fibers from the center outward. The chuspata has only one harvesting season, and the older adults are responsible for this, to later store it so that it can be used throughout the year.
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