6. Charro Sombreros, 1995

This photograph, taken by Barry Peril in 1995, shows Norma Mendoza (right) looking on as Maria Guadalupe Barajas (left) demonstrates a sewing technique used to decorate a traditional charro sombrero. The two women worked together through the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program of the Oregon Historical Society Folklife Program in 1994.

Maria Guadalupe Barajas was born in Mexico City in 1965. When “Lupe” was eleven years old, her mother began teaching her the family trade of creating elaborate charro sombreros. Charro sombreros are large-brimmed hats―typically adorned with elaborate embroidery and decorative patterns―worn by Mexican rodeo cowboys and mariachis. In addition to making sombreros, Barajas also makes other charro accouterments, such as embroidered vests, shirts, and fitted trousers. Today, Barajas lives in Hermiston, Oregon, where she and her husband, Emilio Zapata, continue to carry on their charro heritage.

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