We’re very excited to announce our latest GuestJam series with Otomi Embroidery artist and designer, Mariana Barran Goodall. Mariana is the designer and proprietor behind Hibiscus Linens, a line of beautifully crafted towels, clothing and and art, as well as one of the 1,200 people in the world who have mastered the ancient Otomi embroidery technique.

Mariana will be joining us August 18th and 19th for two Otomi embroidery intensives and we caught up with her to learn a little bit about her skills and love of craft.


What’s your name? Pair it with an adjective that has the same first letter.
Mariana, Mexican 🙂
How long have you been crafting?

For as long as I can remember, my mom love(d) to keep my hands busy helping her create Christmas ornaments.
Where did you learn embroidery? 

I began practicing stitches at the age of seven under the tutelage of a group of tough but knowledgeable and skilled nuns. I would practice for hours every day.  As I became a teenager, and into college, I had little time to stitch but then “rediscovered” my passion for needlework shortly after finishing school. After that, the “seed” of needlework design had been planted and it bloomed as I traveled the world.


What is Otomi Embroidery?

Otomi Embroidery is a technique that is very close to my heart as it was passed down to me in its original language by a community textile master. It was a unique opportunity to be able to learn it straight from the source.

The Otomi communities used embroidery techniques Pre-colonization. As time progressed and the Otomi were colonized by Spaniards, the Otomi women began to embroider in the European style, a popular craft for women during colonial times. The most special detail about this technique is that it’s always a collaborative effort. Most Otomi communities live as a cooperative, where everyone has a role to play. Young men dream the patterns and trace them onto the cloth, women stitch them with a special kind of sating stitch that only appears on one side of the cloth, and the elderly sell them. It is said that Otomi designs are the textile equivalent of cave painting, focusing on mythological designs that tell a story.  


Tell us about your business?

Hibiscus Linens was born when I decided to pursue my love for embroidery and other needlework techniques as a full time job. At Hibiscus Linens I spend half of my time designing and stitching my collection, which includes  one of a kind bedding designs to cocktail napkins and bridal handkerchiefs, and the other half of my time I spend sharing my knowledge through workshops around the country.

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What do you like about crafting?

Crafting is a door to creativity, a door to explore those things that makes you happy and a great opportunity to create a community around you.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever made?

By far it seems the coolest thing I have done is the design on our Chicken Dress and Shirts. It’s whimsical, fun and unexpected.  
What do you like about CraftJams?

The possibility of creating community and creating something with our hands. Its amazing how fun it is and I think we forget how magical and capable our hands can be.


If you could CraftJam with anyone, who would it be?

I have always been fascinated by the craft of Millinery, I would love to learn how to accessorize and make a beautiful hat!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

There is no wrong answers while crafting, choose to create what makes you happy.

Best music to listen while crafting? 

I love to listen to Acoustic Cover Hits.

Describe your self with a GIF:

See more Mariana’s designs on her website or say hi to her on Instagram.