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Elan Vitae


  • J Bristol


Photo credit: Larissa Moreno

Everything about Citlalli Parra says spring.  Her essence is one of lightness, sprouting, growing, becoming.  But like the wisdom innate to the plants and trees around us, her blossoming is not haphazard.  It is instilled, innate, intuitive, and perfectly imperfect.

While the uniqueness of her designs shine brightly on the model or the showroom floor, like their creator, it is their inner light that radiates most.  The light that can only come from deep commitment to tradition, to authenticity, to nature, to self, and to spirit.

Walking the path of a creative can be daunting, especially in the shadow of great talent that surrounds those who try. Growing up in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Citlalli was influenced by her mom, an artist. In fact, she spent many of her early years shying away from her creative instincts because “there was already an artist in the family” she says.  It was her move to San Miguel de Allende 7 years ago that began to awaken the subtly percolating artistic instinct beneath her surface.  San Miguel, located in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, has long been recognized as a mecca for artists of all disciplines, both natives and expatriates alike. Dipping her toes into the creative waters by joining a local sculpting class, she began to get in touch with that creative flow.  This initial medium of expression soon developed across multiple others.

Later, it was on a trip to the Mexican state of Chiapas that she discovered the pedal loom.  Along with that discovery came exposure to traditional methods of weaving tapestry.  “I felt a true sense of marvel at how these artisans were weaving these beautiful pieces.” she says.  This discovery ignited something new in her and led her to enroll in weaving classes upon returning to San Miguel.  From there, her passion took on a whole new expression.

While initially she purchased shawls from other artisans and crafted her own pieces such as handbags from them, it didn’t take long for her to start sourcing her own materials, leaning toward natural fibers such as agave and natural dyeing processes.  Agave fiber has been harvested for thousands of years for use in making ropes and nets due to its inherent strength and durability.  It is readily available in the Yucatan Peninsula given it is a by-product of the booming mezcal industry in the region.

She began selling her woven pieces by establishing a booth inside an organic market in San Miguel.  Personal accessories soon expanded into clothing, then later into home accessories.  Each of her pieces is unique.  Some of her most distinctive pieces are part of her Venado (deer) collection, a contemporary representation of an ancient design from San Miguel de Allende.

Today, Citlalli is a truly multidisciplinary artist, focusing more on the creative flow coming through her than the medium itself.  Her creative journey has included painting, sculpture, weaving, fashion design, personal accessories and home accessories.  “For me it's very important, the act of creating, and sometimes if I feel like I'm not inspired to create within, for example, weaving, I may need another influence that helps me to keep my hands in motion.” she says.  Citlalli also honors the creative journey as one of self-exploration, sharing, and appreciating.  She deeply understands that the more you dive into your creative self, the more you realize there’s a lot you don’t know.  This beautiful, ongoing process of learning has led to invitations to share her work in a number of notable exhibitions including Design Week Mexico and the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City.

Citlalli’s work is truly multidimensional.  The figurative tapestry she weaves with her creative process involves so many different traditions, people, ways of doing things, different geographical regions, and different ways to exhibit, to collaborate or put things together.  There is a wholeness to her work that seems to emanate from her desire to honor the entirety of the process from start to finish, including those artisans who have walked before her over time developing the deep traditions and techniques that form the foundation of her work.

As you peruse her offerings you’ll notice not only the uniqueness of each piece, but feel the depth of her journey as well.

So, what’s next for Citlali Parra?

Well, there’s no chance she’ll stop creating any time soon.  In fact, she continues to expand her reach by inviting others into her process with creative artisan retreats.

The creative retreats Citlalli offers are held in the Mexican state of Oaxaca and are an immersive experience for those who are interested in learning about:

  • the natural dyeing process from master dyers themselves

  • unique weaving methods from a variety of towns

  • the process of clay-making

  • how to hand-spin natural fibers

  • silk-making and eco production

  • how to make paper from natural resources

Beyond learning, participants get the opportunity to visit a silk sanctuary, art centers, museums and galleries, artist studios, and enjoy a local culinary experience.  These carefully curated experiences allow others to contribute to and support art skills with fair payments and see Oaxaca from a Mexican artist perspective as well as their own.

If this ignites your curiosity or creative flow, reach out directly to Citlalli for upcoming dates and details. Her retreats are generally held twice a year and fill up quickly!

See full interview here:


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