Patricia Zavala de Arias

Deshilado (des-ē-lah’-do), or Mexican openwork embroidery, is traditionally used on household items such as tablecloths, napkins, and linens.  Openwork embroidery is the art of removing threads from a fabric to create a design over which embroidery is made.

Patricia Zavala de Arias learned deshilado from her mother in her hometown of Guanajuato, Mexico.  She has been making deshilado for over thirty years.

As a master artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program in 2013, Patricia shared with her daughter and apprentice Maria Arias the intricate and intensive fabric work of deshilado.



Master artist Patricia Zavala de Arias (left) and her daughter and 2013 apprentice Maria Arias.

Master artist Patricia Zavala de Arias (left) working with apprentice and daughter Maria Arias on different aspects of a table setting set.

Apprentice Maria Arias using thread to tie in designs into the material.

The early stages of a large table cloth that incorporates many cloth textile techniques.

Detail of one corner of the large tablecloth.

Different designs and patterns utilized in this small tablecloth.

A cloth napkin for the table setting set that incorporates deshilado techniques, cross-point, embroidery, and tejido (knitting).

A table place setting that incorporates deshilado techniques, crosspoint, embroidery, and tejido (knitting).

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