Today, I met Alex McKenzie, an intern for the Mint Museum who is making a video documentary about the textile traditions of the Americas for a museum educational program. Alex is a student at University of North Carolina-Greensboro and his summer project is to learn all he can about weaving and natural dyeing, the indigenous textile collections at the museum, backstrap and floor looms, materials used for weaving, and interview people in North Carolina to include in the documentary who are involved with textiles. He asked if we could get together to talk and, of course, I said yes.
These were Alex’s Interview Questions:
What is your past involvement with textiles and the arts? How were you inspired to enter this field and what have you gained from it?
Could you please elaborate on your current occupation? (UNC)
Your website consistently entitles you as a cultural navigator. Could you explain why and how you use this term to describe yourself?
What is the Oaxaca Artist Guild and what are its goals?
Why do you frequent Oaxaca?
Are the weavers you meet in Oaxaca of Mayan descent?
What type of weaving techniques and looms are used presently in Oaxaca?
Have they changed a lot since the ancient times?
Furthermore what looms do you use?
Are you familiar with the back-strap loom? What are the advantages and disadvantages of it?
Briefly explain the weaving process of a typical Oaxacan weaver.
What experience do you have with natural dyes? (Cochineal) How are these dyes important to the culture?
Is there any preference in the choice of fibers today?
What is the significance of the varying patterns used by the weavers on the textiles?
What is the cultural significance the textiles have had on the natives of the region, past and present?
What do these works of art mean to the people who create and wear them, spiritually and culturally?
How are weavers looked upon in society? How is weaving integrated within the culture?
What are you goals and ambitions of your website and blog?
What are your Goals for North Carolina and Oaxaca in relation to one another?