Frequently asked questions
Who is Marcia Lucas?
Marcia Lucas is the owner of El Interior! In 1979, she started an Austin-based business working with designers, collectors, and folk art galleries and museums in order to spread her love of folk art & textiles, as well as the techniques and the culture behind them. Five years later, she opened a retail space downtown and then moved it to El Interior’s current location in the historic Clarksville neighborhood.
Marcia has been visiting and buying from many of the Mexican artisans for so long that she’s had the pleasure of watching their babies grow up and become master artisans in their own right. “I really love feeling such a strong connection with these indigenous people and feeling that I’m helping encourage and support their sustainable and traditional lifestyle and culture.”
During those early years, Lucas had several museum exhibits on Zapotec Indian rug and sarape weaving at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland, Texas, and The Board of Governors at the Federal Reserve in Washington D.C. and the Mexican Cultural Institute in San Antonio, Texas. Her article on Zapotec weaving was published in The Master Key magazine of the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, California. She was also a major instrument in the founding of Austin Friends of Folk Art, in 1987.
Marcia has a deep passion and commitment toward supporting the cultures of Indigenous MesoAmerica—Mexico and Guatemala. Her goal is to share the knowledge of its people, introduce their customs, and promote sustainability by buying their beautiful and lovingly created artisanal products, which were made in their homes and workshops, and present them to a wider, global audience. Theirs is a culture that lives life from the heart and empowers deep connection with their families, communities, and Mother Earth. Marcia strives to provide the highest quality of goods filled with beauty, and to serve El Interior’s customers in the very best way she can.
Who are some of your featured artists/artisans?
We’re glad you asked! Below is a list of some of our featured artists and artisans, each of whom have a short bio we’ve included for your edification. Just click on their name to read more about them.
- Concepción Aguilar: Youngest of the Aguilar sisters, clay artist from Oaxaca.
- Guillermina Aguilar: Master clay artist from Oaxaca, sister to Josefina.
- Josefina Aguilar: Master clay artist from Oaxaca and the most famous of the Aguilar family.
- Angélica Vásquez Cruz: Master potter from Atzompa, Oaxaca, Mexico.
- Isidoro Cruz: Master wood-carver from Oaxaca.
- Juan Gutierrez: Award-winning potter.
- Dolores Porras: Potter from Atzompa, Oaxaca, Mexico.
- Reynaldo Santiago: Artisan wood-carver from La Unión.
How should I care for the clothing I purchased from you?
Since so many of our clothes include fine, hand-embroidered details, we highly recommend either turning the items inside-out in the wash, and/or putting them in a mesh garment bag so the embroidery won’t snag on any buttons, zippers, etc. We also recommend washing in cold, with like colors, and hanging them to dry rather than using a dryer.
Why are some of your clothes/items so expensive?
Most of our clothing, textiles, folk art, and so on, are handmade/hand-embroidered by independent artisans and vendors throughout Mexico and Guatemala. The work that goes into each one is considerable—these are a far cry from the mass-manufactured clothing you get at major department stores. Our owner, Marcia Lucas, also advocates fair trade practices, so that the artisans and vendors she purchases from are adequately compensated for the time, care, and effort they put into their pieces.
I don’t know how to pronounce many of the items on your website! Can you help?
That’s okay—it took most of us a little while to learn how to pronounce everything, too! Below is a handy little pronunciation (and definition) guide:
|guayabera||GWAY-ah-bear-ah (or GWAY-ah-ver-ah)||a men’s shirt, typically made from linen or cotton, popular in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Also known as a “Mexican Wedding Shirt.”|
|huipil (plural: huipiles)||wee-PEEL (plural: wee-PEEL-ays)||a loose-fitting tunic, generally made from two or three rectangular pieces of fabric, joined together with stitching, ribbons or fabric strips, with an opening for the head and arms.|
|zacualpa||zah-KWAL-pah||Zacualpa is a municipality in the region of Quiché (Guatemala), which is where our gorgeous hand-woven textiles come from–they’re perfect as a bedspread or for use as a tablecloth.|
|zapotec||ZAP-oh-tek||Zapotec refers to an old, pre-Columbian civilization in Central Mexico–in our case, we use the term for a line of hand-woven rugs made by the master weavers of Mexico, the Montaño family. The Montaño family is from Teotitlan del Valle and uses the old Zapotec designs that have been passed down through the generations. They are 100% wool and mostly handspun.|
I love your clothes, but you don’t have my size. Can you order it for me?
Unfortunately, since most of our items are hand-picked by the owner, Marcia Lucas, on her periodic trips to Mexico and Guatemala, we really can’t place orders for specific items. We try to pay attention to what’s hot and sought-after, so that she can get more of those items during her travels, but we don’t have the luxury of many big department stores in being able to place orders for mass quantities. Our clothing is handmade and often one-of-a-kind.