María Violante Chávez, Oaxaca, Mexico
Images by Klinckwort Laframboise
This week, in a very special Journal feature, we bring you a breath of fresh air as we visit the residence and gardens of María Violante Chávez in San Sebastián Río Hondo, Oaxaca. Over the past seven years Maria has not only created a beautiful home but also a garden rich in biodiversity and a business, Remedios del Bosque skincare, that invokes the incredible power of the land while connecting local Oaxacan women through herbs.
“My home is a beautiful, warm space made from cob and wood. My husband is an architect so we chose a range of different natural materials for the interior and every detail within it. We have lived here for seven years and during that time have been working together on a number of regenerative projects on our land.
“There are many pieces of art and objects in our home that we love. We have work from many different Oaxacan artists, natural pottery, and natural dyed textiles also from Oaxaca. We chose natural and handmade pieces that reflect the essence of the house”
We have work from many different Oaxacan artists, natural pottery, and natural dyed textiles also from Oaxaca.
“We believe that we all need to play our part in regenerating the earth around us and to be sustainable where we can. On our land we practice syntrophy agriculture, the main purpose is to create fertile soil and biodiversity. We have been working in the gardens since we moved here, planting vegetables, aromatic and medicinal herbs, and fruit trees.”
Maria’s table is dressed in an IN BED 100% linen tablecloth in natural.
“Our local area is very special to us, it’s in the middle of the southern mountains of Oaxaca. We don’t have a lot of places to visit but we spend a lot of our time in the forest hiking. We go for walks to the river or visit friends in other ranchos (farms), we also visit the local markets every week. It’s a calm and quiet life. When we do want more movement, we go to Oaxaca city, a beautiful city, with many restaurants and galleries.”
We go for walks to the river or visit friends in other ranchos (farms), we also visit the local markets every week. It’s a calm and quiet life.
“Before Remedios, I was an event manager. Along with my team we would produce cultural and musical festivals. As part of this work I was invited to produce a Mexican herbs forum. I got hooked on all the amazing knowledge of the herbalist and midwives that we worked with and decided to study medicinal herbs, agriculture and skincare formulation. During this time I started to plant all the herbs that we need for our products and worked with the women of the Oaxaca mountains.”
“When we started Remedios, I saw quickly that women were interested in connecting with herbs, they were losing ancient knowledge and they wanted to take it back, to pass it on. So we decided to work together. We work with eight families to produce our products. It’s powerful and vital work for these families and so rewarding for us all to connect around the herbs and the land.”
When we started Remedios, I saw quickly that women were interested in connecting with herbs, they were losing ancient knowledge and they wanted to take it back, to pass it on.
“When developing new products we brainstorm with our team, we research and importantly, we ask, what do our clients actually need? What can we make that is different? What can we make that shows our essence? And then, we make the perfect formulation.”
“In terms of the future; we are simply enjoying developing the range. However, Remedios del Bosque has always been more than just skincare products. More than ever, we are about regenerative agriculture, holistic management, a circular economy, biodiversity fighters and plant lovers.”