Tag Archives: Remigio Mestas

Remigio Mestas Describes a Handwoven Textile: Video

I’m experimenting with iMovie and made the subtitles tonight.  Here is a discussion I had with Remigio Mestas when I was in Oaxaca in December 2008.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3Z53c-pulA

See complete explanation of Remigio’s work on this blog post:  http://oaxacaculture.com/2008/12/21/catching-my-breath-and-catching-up-posadas-remigo-mestas-indigo-tie-dye-workshop/

With me was Martha Sorensen from Santa Fe, NM, a good friend of Remigio, and Eric Chavez Santiago, the director of education at the Museo Textile de Oaxaca.  Remigio works with over 200 weavers, spinners and dyers throughout the State of Oaxaca to create the finest quality textiles that many consider to be museum quality.  Many are located in the remote mountain villages of the Sierra Madre del Sur.  Remigio helps many who need health care, education for their children, and specialized medical treatment.

You can visit Remigio’s shop on Macedonio Alcala in the central historic district of Oaxaca in the patio next to Las Danzantes restaurant.  There you will find extraordinary handwoven and naturally dyed textiles using exquisite traditional patterns and designs that are kept alive by Remigo Mestas.

Catching My Breath and Catching Up: Posadas, Remigo Mestas, Indigo Tie-Dye Workshop

It’s vacation and I’m trying not to be breathless.  For the last two days, I have walked up and down Teotitlan hills following the posada processional from one house to another in the annual pre-Christmas tradition of Mary and Joseph visiting and staying over in the altar rooms of nine homes before the birth of baby Jesus on Christmas Eve–and the ultimate posada.  On Friday night, there was a gallery opening at Las Bugambilias where Lisa Cicotte exhibited the rugs she designed that were woven by master Tito Mendoza, and the lyrical paintings created by Aurora Cabreras, the proprietress of Las Bugambilias, were celebrated.  On Saturday morning, Eric Chavez Santiago taught a tie-dye workshop at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca using anil or indigo dye in which I participated along with 10 other people — adults, children, a Trique weaver who works with Remigio Mestas, and one other gringa.  It was loads of fun, very messy, and gave me another new appreciation for what it takes to work with natural dyes and create great designs.  In the afternoon, after a great $50 peso comida at  El Gran Gourmet Oaxaqueno on Independencia just past Avenida Juarez walking away from the Zocalo.  It is fabuloso — and the meal includes soup (this day, sopa de crema de verdura), fresh steamed veggies perfectly cooked, arroz, filete de pescado (oooh, delicioso), agua de pepino con limon (a great cucumber lemon juice drink), and gelatina for dessert.  YES, all for $50 pesos!  Very clean. Oh, and homemade tortillas on the premises.

I want to write about Remigio Mestas, who has a current exhibit in the second floor library of the Museo Textil de Oaxaca.  His shop, Arte Textil Indigena, is on Macedonia Alcala 403-2, in the historic center of Oaxaca.  Telephone:   951-501-0552.  Email cbram@prodigy.net.mx It is the premiere location for authentic indigenous weavings.

See Remigio talk about a textile from the Sierra Madre del Sur.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3Z53c-pulA

For the last 15 years, Remigio has identified the greatest weavers, dyers, and spinners from all over Oaxaca state and has worked with them to preserve the traditional patterns and processes involved in textile creation.  He has also influenced their use and return to natural dyes.  What is purchased there is guaranteed to be authentic.  Remigio says he is responsible for the livelihood of over 200 artisans who live in villages near Oaxaca and in remote mountain villages. His commitment is to sustain the culture, history, and create economic opportunities for Mixe, Mixtec, Trique and Zapotec communities all over the state.

Remigio Mestas: Textile Museum of Oaxaca Exhibition

“Remigio Mestas: A Mirror on the Rich Textiles of Oaxaca” Exhibition at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca November 9, 2008 to February 16, 2009

Here is an exhibition you won’t want to miss if you are in Oaxaca through mid-February.  Sr. Remigio Mestas has an incredible shop in the arcade next to Los Danzantes Restaurant on the main pedestrian thoroughfare in the old city — Alacala Macedonio.  There are gorgeous textiles from throughout Oaxaca, including handwoven fabrics you can make up into your own huipil, tablecloth, bedspread or pillow, as well as traditional garments that are ready-to-wear.  Below are the program notes for the new exhibition.

Remigio Mestas: Espejo de la Riqueza Textil del Estado de Oaxaca

Remigio Mestas hace brillar las cualidades del buen hacer del tejido y bordado, es un hombre que ama y disfruta su trabajo. Originario de Yalalag, Villa Hidalgo en el estado de Oaxaca, Remigio emigró a la capital del estado cuando tenía cuatro años y vivió rodeado de personas trabajadoras e involucradas en el mundo del textil. Su madre tejía en telar de cintura y también sabía coser a máquina. Su padre confeccionaba camisas y pantalones de manta, ambos eran muy creativos y pronto los hijos aprendieron el oficio y llevaban sus mercancías a vender al mercado.

Remigio Mestas illuminates the process of quality weaving and embroidering. He is the embodiment of someone who loves and enjoys his work. A native of Yalalag, Villa Hidalgo in the State of Oaxaca, Remigio emigrated to the capital of Oaxaca with his family when he was four years old. He was surrounded by family who were immersed in the creative textile traditions of Oaxaca. His mother wove on a backstrap loom and used a sewing machine, while his father made shirts and muslin trousers. Their children soon learned to weave and sew, and took the handmade clothing to sell at the market.

Un día la señora Dolores Cruz Palacios y su hija Mari Cruz Rosales le preguntaron a la mamá de Remigio si no sabía de alguien que pudiera ayudarles con sus ventas en el mercado Labastida. El pequeño Remigio, que en ese entonces tenía siete años, les pidió permiso a sus padres para trabajar con las señoras. Al principio dudaron, pero al ver tanta insistencia del niño, aceptaron que fuera si tanto lo deseaba. Entonces Remigio iba por las mañanas a la escuela y por las tardes trabajaba. Al año, las señoras lo invitaron a vivir con ellas y él aceptó, porque siempre se sintió bien acogido. Le gustaba el trabajo y relacionarse con los artesanos y además se sentía a gusto con aquella familia, integrada por la abuela, su hija y dos alegres niñas: Jorgina y Ana Pérez Castellanos.

One day Ms. Dolores Cruz Palacios and her daughter Mari Cruz Rosales asked Remigio´s mother if she knew someone who could help them to sell at the Labastida market. Young Remigio, who was 7 years old, asked permission from his parents to work with the women. His parents hesitated then agreed when they saw how much Remigio wanted to do this. Each day he attended school in the morning and worked during the afternoon. A year later, the women invited Remigio to join their family and live with them. Of course, he agreed because it was a very comfortable household comprising three generations of women -– a grandmother, her daughter, and two happy grandchildren – Jorgina and Ana Perez Castellanos.

Desde entonces, Remigio admiraba el arte popular, especialmente el trabajo de los tejedores. Pronto notó cuáles piezas estaban mejor concebidas que otras, supo distinguir las regiones en que se elaboraban los textiles, los distintos tipos de tejidos y bordados, así como la utilización de fibras y tintes naturales. También se daba cuenta que había materiales industrializados que deterioraban la calidad de los textiles tradicionales.

Since then, Remigio admired popular art, the work of artisans, and especially the work of the weavers. Soon he noticed which pieces were better quality than others. He learned to distinguish the regions where the textiles originated, the different weaving and embroidery techniques, the use of fibers and natural dyes. He also noticed that pieces made with industrialized materials detracted from the quality of traditional textiles.

En 1978, doña Dolores y su hija fundaron una tienda ubicada a un costado del templo de Santo Domingo y al poco tiempo Mari Cruz y Remigio abrieron un nuevo local en la misma calle al que llamaron “artesanías de Oaxaca” con un giro más artístico y mejorando la calidad de la mercancía. Más tarde, este negocio cambió el nombre a “Juana Cata”, como se le conoce actualmente. En ese entonces, Remigio era un joven que estudiaba la secundaria, se dedicaba al comercio y comenzó a hacer trabajos tallados en madera.

In 1978, Ms. Dolores and her daughter founded a shop located next to the Santo Domingo Church and little later Mari Cruz and Remigio opened a new shop on the same street called “Artesanias de Oaxaca” with a more artistic touch and higher quality merchandise. Later, this business changed its name to “Juana Cata,” as it is now known. During that period, Remigio was attending junior high school, operating a business and beginning to create woodcarvings.

En 1996, Remigio terminó sus estudios universitarios de contador público y supo que su pasión era relacionarse con los tejedores y si algo tenía claro era que se iba a dedicar a esa noble tarea que también era su vida. Así, Remigio conseguía textiles bellísimos, piezas únicas que sólo en su tienda se podían encontrar y comenzó a tener una clientela interesada en obtener obras de exquisita factura, realizados con materiales finos. Interesado en los colorantes naturales, Remigio comenzó a teñir hilos para dárselos a los tejedores y fue de esta manera que inició una nueva etapa en el textil oaxaqueño.

In 1996, Remigio earned a degree in accounting. He also realized that his passion was to relate with weavers and he was certain he wanted to dedicate his life to this purpose. Remigio sought out only the most beautiful, unique textiles to sell in his shop, and began to build a clientele interested in purchasing exquisite handcrafted pieces made with only the finest materials, including those made with natural dyes. His interest grew and he began to dye yarn and provide them to weavers, and in this way a new era for Oaxaca textiles began.

En 2002, el éxito de Remigio lo llevó a abrir otra hermosa tienda en Casa Vieja, en la calle peatonal más concurrida de la ciudad. Con una clientela cautiva, el local se ha convertido en un punto obligado para los amantes de los textiles de Oaxaca. En 2006, por los problemas políticos y sociales, y la ausencia de turismo en la ciudad de Oaxaca, Remigio inauguró otra tienda en San Miguel de Allende, en el estado de Guanajuato. Su preocupación era continuar con el apoyo a sus paisanos indígenas, a sus tejedores.

In 2002, Remigio´s success led him to open shop in Casa Vieja, located on Alacala Macedonia, the busiest pedestrian street of the city. With a captive clientele, the shop has became a “must visit” stop for lovers of Oaxaca textiles. In 2006, due to societal unrest and the resulting absence of tourism in the city of Oaxaca, Remigio opened another shop in San Miguel de Allende, in the state of Guanajuato. His commitment was to continue supporting his fellow indigenous people — his weavers.

Remigio es conocido por la generosidad de sus conocimientos, de ahí su éxito como un maestro que disfruta enseñar a sus clientes las características de cada textil. Con ternura explica la procedencia de la pieza, los materiales en las que se realizó, el significado del diseño, la utilización de tintes naturales y destaca la belleza de la prenda. Trabajador honesto y comprometido con los artesanos, Remigio ha logrado sensibilizar a sus clientes y concibe cada pieza como si fuera un tesoro. El comprador siempre sale satisfecho de valorar el trabajo, el tiempo y la calidad de la prenda adquirida.

Remigio is known for the generously sharing his knowledge. He is a master who enjoys teaching customers about the qualities and intricacies of each textile. Tenderly, he explains the origin of the piece, the materials with which it was made, the meaning of the designs, and the use of natural dyes. Each piece is a treasure. Remigio has succeeded in raising awareness for highest quality artisan made textiles. He represents the weavers with honesty and commitment. Customers leave his shop satisfied and appreciate what they have purchased.

La visión de Remigio ha logrado mejorar notablemente el textil oaxaqueño. Su experiencia y su origen indígena han sido factores fundamentales para haber contactado a los mejores tejedores del estado y muchos de ellos han podido comprender que al mejorar la calidad de los hilos, su trabajo luce más y es mejor remunerado. Sin duda, esta contribución es el reflejo de un hombre generoso, que creció en un ambiente de trabajo y constancia, sensible a las manos de los artesanos de Oaxaca y capaz de transformar una pieza en verdadera obra de arte.

Remigio´s vision has had a notable impact on the textiles of Oaxaca. Because of his experience and indigenous origins, he has been successful in contacting and guiding the best weavers of the state and many have understood and responded by improving the quality of the yarns they use. As a result, their work is higher quality and can command a higher price. Without doubt, this contribution reflects on his generosity, his constant work and perseverance, and sensitivity for the hand work created by Oaxacan artisans and capability to transform something into a truly great piece of art.

El Museo Textil de Oaxaca rinde homenaje a Remigio Mestas por su habilidad para comprender, experimentar y sorprender al mundo con su trabajo en beneficio del textil mexicano.

The Museo Textil de Oaxaca pays homage to Remigio Mestas for his ability to understand, experiment and surprise the world with his work that benefits Mexican textiles.

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Written by Maria Isabel Granen Porrua, November 2008, translated by Eric Chavez Santiago with assistance from Norma Hawthorne