Tag Archives: textile

Tenancingo Mi Tierra: Evaristo Borboa Casas Weaves Ikat Rebozos

It was our last day of nine days in Tenancingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico, studying the ikat rebozo of Mexico. It was a free day when our ten textile study tour participants could return to visit a weaver they met earlier in the week if they wished or roam the town market.

On the backstrap loom, a stunning red, black and white ikat rebozo by Evaristo Borboa

On the backstrap loom, a stunning red, black + white ikat rebozo by Evaristo Borboa, sold to one of our participants when it is finished in six months.

Britt and I went back to visit grand master of Mexican folk art Evaristo Borboa Casas. Britt had a particular ikat (also called jaspe) rebozo on her mind all week and wanted to see if it was still available for sale. It is a difficult task to write any words in cloth using ikat technique, but Evaristo did it with a border on each side that says, Tenancingo Mi Tierra (translated to Tenancingo My Land).

 

After several searches through his humble home, the 90 year-old rebozero (rebozo maker) took a hike to his sister’s house fifteen minutes away, where he keeps his stash safe. But, when he got back, the ikat rebozo woven with the words Tenancingo Mi Tierra wasn’t in that pile either. We started to panic. Then, one more hunt into a dark, secret room off the bedroom and Evaristo returned with his masterpiece!

 

Evaristo stands upright to weave. A leather strap connects around his hips to the loom. The other end is secured to a hook on a vertical (sort of) piece of wood secured to wall and ceiling beams. He tilts back to tighten the warp threads. The warp, or the threads running through the cloth vertically, have been pre-dyed to form a pattern before the loom is dressed.

A tedious process, Evaristo only weaves 2-hours a day now instead of eleven.

A tedious process, Evaristo only weaves 2-hours a day now instead of eleven.

A master weaver like Evaristo has perfect registration and can work many colors into the cloth if he wishes. Each weaver marks the threads with an inked pattern and everyone has their own variation on the ikat design. People around town can tell who made the cloth by its particular pattern.

 

The rebozo is an iconic emblem of Mexico. It is used as a protection from the sun, for evening warmth, to carry babies and transport food from the market. In the past, depending on color, one could tell whether a woman came from the country or a town or was working class or upper class or a woman of disrepute.

This Evaristo rebozo is so fine, it can be pulled through a wedding band!

This Evaristo rebozo is so fine, it can be pulled through a wedding band!

It is the men who weave here because rebozos are wider than the typical Oaxaca back strap loom used by women and the wood parts are much heavier. Below is an old loom used by Evaristo. We notice in Mexico nothing is ever discarded. There might be a use for it someday.

 

During the 1910 Mexican Revolution the rebozo was worn like an X-shaped halter, criss-crossed over the front by women fighters who used it to carry bullets.

 

Photos above: Evaristo dyes and dries his warp threads next to the chicken coop where the rooster stands watch over his hens. The threads are tied to resist the dye, which creates the pattern.

Evaristo Borboa Casas, 90 year old rebozo weaver, Tenancingo, EdoMex

Evaristo Borboa Casas, 90 year old rebozo weaver, Tenancingo, EdoMex

Today, Evaristo is only one of 27 rebozo weavers continue to create these amazing ikat cotton textiles in Tenancingo. In the 1960’s there were over 200 rebozeros. We are told there are about 1,500 women who hand-tie the repacejos or punta or fringes of the rebozo.

Puntadora Amalia shows how to tie the finest knots during our study tour

Puntadora Amalia shows how to tie the finest knots during our study tour

They do this part-time for a few hours  day, in-between cooking, laundry, tending children, gardens and animals. They sit on low chairs, lean over a narrow table, painstakingly knotting the threads at the end of the cloth. Sometimes, depending on the intricacy, like the one above, this will take seven months!

A puntadora always has a long left thumbnail to help her secure the knots.

A selection of Evaristo's rebozos

A selection of Evaristo’s rebozos

Evaristo does not say who makes the puntas on his rebozos. They are straight and very tight, which means there is a lot of work and time that goes into making the fringes. Based on designs, tightness of knots, and length of the punta, a rebozo’s cost is based on the time to weave the cloth (about two to three-months) and the time to tie the punta (at least three or four months).

Evaristo bending over the back strap loom

Evaristo bending over the back strap loom

I will be organizing this rebozo study tour for either the end of September 2016 to coincide with the Tenancingo rebozo fair or in winter, mid-February 2017. There will be a few modifications in the itinerary we just completed. Please tell me if you are interested and which time of year you prefer. Get on the notification list!

 

Antiques in San Pablo Villa de Mitla, Tlacolula, Oaxaca

There is a tall, inconspicuous door on a San Pablo Villa de Mitla side street. Open it and discover a home gallery filled with antique treasures. The inventory is small and includes ancient stone metates, glass vases hand-painted with flowers and edged in gold, reliquaries and ex votos. Señor Epifanio knows his stuff.

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Scott Roth holding an old Mitla hand-woven textile

Upstairs via a narrow, concrete passageway painted in brilliant blue is a gallery filled with blown glass mezcal bottles, remnants of the time when this was how the agave liquor was stored. They are hard to find and very expensive.

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Dolls, old photos, books, chachkeh from Mitla, Oaxaca

Occasionally, there is a jewelry find, like the Mexican silver coin earrings from the early part of the 20th century. I returned a month later to buy them and they were gone. Rule for Shopping in Mexico: buy it when you see it. Usually, these things are one-of-a-kind.

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Hand-blown mezcal and water bottles, most from Oaxaca, 1950’s-1960’s

I’m reluctant to share the address and contact information. Only because I haven’t asked permission to cite the location, plus these things are getting scarce, and with scarcity comes higher prices. As demand rises, prices do, too. So, why am I publishing this?

So you can see the photos, of course.

Faces and Festivals Chiapas Photography Workshop

Scott Roth

Portrait of Scott Roth with old Zapotec textile from Teotitlan del Valle

 

Textile Felt Fashion Designer Teaches Oaxaca Workshop

Maddalena Forcella is an Italian fashion designer who has lived in Mexico most of her adult life. She works in felt and creates beautiful, comfortable clothing that is Art-to-Wear. In the workshop we create the felted nuno cloth and then design garments using indigenous Mexican textile patterns including the quechequemitl, huipil, rebozo and blusa. You can adapt these to your own fit and style!  When? Felt Fashion Workshop, January in Oaxaca, where the sun still shines in winter.  See Maddalena’s work at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca.

FeltPosterFinal

How to Make a Wool Felt Flower

Making a flower out of felted wool fiber is a simple art process that I learned during a workshop with Jessica de Haas, Canadian clothing designer, at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca.  No one else wanted to cut into their handmade felt cloth, but I took scissors in hand and cut away.  Here was my reward!

Scrunched and dried felted wool flowers

Felted Fashion Workshop: Making Wearable Art Oaxaca Style, Feb. 4-11, 2013

Instructions:

1.  First, I made a paper pattern.  I cut four circles.  Circle 1 is 6″ in diameter.  Circle 2 is 5″ in diameter.  Circle 3 is 4″ in diameter.  Circle 4 is 3″ in diameter.

2.  Then, I pinned each circle to the felt and cut.

3.  Starting with the largest circle, fold it in half and cut into the fold about 1/2″ on both sides.  Fold it in half the other way and make another cut about 1/2″ on both sides.  Keep doing this until you end up with 16 “petals.”  Trim each of the petals so that they look like a petal!

4.  Continue the same process with each of the remaining circles.

Flat felted wool flower before sewn together and scrunched. My petals are misshapen because the scissors wasn't very sharp! Get a sharp scissors.

 

5.  Stack the circles on top of each other, largest one on the bottom, smallest one on top.

6.  With needle and thread, sew the layers together in the center.

7.  Cut a 1″ to 1-1/2″ circle and place it in the center of the flower and sew it on, leaving an opening big enough to stuff tiny wool scraps into the center to look like a button.  (Did you know the center of a flower is called a stigma and in Spanish it’s Corolla?)

8.  Squeeze the flower from bottom so that the petals form a distinctive shape.

I made my flower when it was damp, so when I squeezed, it crunched up and took a 3-dimensional shape instead of a flat pancake (as shown above).  If you like, you can wet it completely in hot water, squeeze the water out gently with two hands, and then squeeze to shape.  Let air dry in the sun or on top of a clothes dryer.

9.  Sew to a hat or pin on a jacket or make a choker necklace out of it.

Supplies list:

  • A few sheets of paper (can be recycled printer paper)
  • A good, sharp scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Needle and thread
  • Scrap wool for button center (or use a button)
  • Optional: embellish with sequins or seed beads or random embroidery design

Summer 2011 Oaxaca Weaving Workshop: Dancing on the Loom + Bonus Cooking Class

Bobbins on the tapestry loom

Monday – Friday, June 13- 17, 2011

Imagine! A 4-day hands-on weaving workshop in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico, with the family of master weaver Federico Chavez Sosa. and his wife Dolores Santiago Arrellanas, from Monday-Thursday, June 13-16.  For beginners and experienced weavers!

Plus a Special Bonus Included:  Friday Cooking Class with Reyna Mendoza Ruiz! from 9:00 a.m. t0 2 p.m.

“The workshop was an incredible program. I have enjoyed the whole process! Thank you very much for your hospitality and for sharing your talent, knowledge and wonderful teaching.  I would recommend this program to any friend.  This has been an unforgettable week.” –Giovanna Balarezo, New York City

Workshop tuition is $895 per person, including lodging (double occupancy) and most meals.  Workshop is limited to 6 participants.

4 days of weaving instruction, Monday-Thursday.  Plus a Friday morning cooking class!

Includes 22 hours of instruction, 5 nights lodging, 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches AND a cooking class.  Perfect for weavers, knitters, natural dye aficionados, artists, teachers.  A great experience for parents and mature children.  Arrive Sunday evening and depart on Friday morning.

Cultivating Cochineal -- The Red Dye From the Insect

Dancing on the Loom” was a marvelous experience; not only did I learn the essentials of weaving and dyeing, but I have the opportunity to see people engaging in the building of a sustainable production.” — Akilah Zuberi, Philadelphia

Not only will you learn the way Zapotecs have been weaving for over 500 years, and dyeing for millenia, you will be experiencing village life through a very unique and personal perspective.

The Chavez family have traveled and exhibited throughout the United States, are in the permanent collections of galleries, museums and artists, including the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame. They have exhibited and lectured widely, including at the National Museum of Mexican Art (Chicago), the San Jose (CA) Quilt and Textile Museum, the American Tapestry Alliance, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Purdue University, and the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Cochineal Colors

Who Should Attend: Weavers, artists, knitters, designers, teachers, university students, anyone interested in weaving and natural dyeing techniques, and sustaining indigenous art forms using traditional methods.

Level of Experience Necessary: These are small group, hands-on workshops that can accommodate varying levels of expertise, from beginner to advanced student. Because the size of each group is limited, you will receive individualized instruction and coaching from the master weaving family of Federico Chavez Sosa. More experienced weavers can create more complex projects.

Student will be assigned their personal loom for the session. The loom will be dressed (warped) and ready for you to begin weaving upon arrival. Materials include your choice of naturally dyed wool yarn from which you will weave a sampler textile that can be used as a wall hanging, pillow cover, or comprise the body of a purse or shoulder bag. You will select the wool from colors dyed with pomegranates, pecans, mosses, indigo, and cochineal.  Our participants have created amazing textiles that range from 18 inches to 30 inches in length.

What You Will Learn:

  • Traditional Zapotec weaving techniques, patterns and motifs that produce squares, stripes, diagonals, circles and color gradations;
  • Use of the two-harness pedal loom and shuttles;
  • Practice weaving simple or more complex patterns, depending upon your level of experience;
  • The cultural history of rug weaving in Teotitlan, ancient wool preparation techniques, natural dyeing methods, and how to discern synthetic dye use
  • Participate in natural dyeing demonstrations to see how the range and variety of color is developed from native plant materials;
  • Complete a finished textile: cut the sample tapestry from the loom, clean the wool tapestry, twist and tie the fringes; and
  • Work under the expert guidance of weavers whose family has been creating extraordinary textiles for generations.

Arrive in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca on Sunday and settle into your B&B.  Sunday is a free day.

Students with Federico at the tapestry loom

Weaving Workshop: Days 1-4, 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Day One, Monday: Arrive at the Chavez Family Studio for an orientation and demonstration of Zapotec weaving patterns and techniques to create squares, stripes, diagonals and circles. Choose your loom and select the colors for your tapestry. Prepare the bobbins. Begin your project.

Days Two to Four, Tuesday-Thursday: Participate in demonstrations and then practice using the two-harness pedal loom using a variety of shuttles to make more complex patterns and greater variety of colors, experiment with using the equipment on your own, learn dyeing techniques using cochineal, indigo, wild marigold (pericone) and moss. Learn how to count threads to create a circle or square within the overall design. Finish off your piece by cutting it off the loom, rolling and tying fringes.

Day Five, Friday: After breakfast, walk around the block to the kitchen of the famed cooking teacher Reyna Mendoza Ruiz at 9 a.m.  You’ll go to the market with her, select the food you will prepare, join her in her kitchen for all the preparations, then enjoy what you have cooked for comida!

What Is Included:

  • All weaving equipment and supplies to create a finished wool tapestry sampler that is approximately 18” wide by 24” long
  • 22+ hours of supervised instruction in English
  • An educational reference notebook of workshop materials
  • 4 lunches: Afternoon lunch (Comida), snacks, beverages daily for four days
  • 5 nights lodging (double occupancy) with daily breakfast in Teotitlan del Valle at a lovely and comfortable bed and breakfast within easy walking distance of the Chavez Santiago Family studio

Cost for the 5 Night/4-Day Program is $895 USD per person, double occupancy.  Additional nights lodging can be arranged at $40 per night per person.

How to Register: A $450 USD deposit is required to reserve your space.

Final payment of the balance is due 45 days before the start day of the workshop. If the final balance is not paid by then, we reserve the right to treat the reservation as cancelled and no refunds are offered. Any registrations made within 45 days of the workshop start date must be paid in full at the time of registration.

Mountains and Rains Zapotec Rug Pattern

Cancellations and Refunds

If cancellation is necessary, deposits are refundable, as follows:

Cancellations must be made in writing by email.

Deposits may be refunded:

  • up to 45 days before the workshop start date, 50% of the deposit will be refunded.
  • After that, deposits are not refundable.
  • If cancellation is necessary, you may apply the deposit to a future workshop scheduled in the same calendar year or transfer your registration to another person.
  • We reserve the right to cancel or reschedule workshops, in which case you may choose a 100% refund or to apply the tuition to a future workshop.

Personal checks are accepted. We can also accept payment with PayPal.

What Is NOT Included:

  • Transportation in/to Mexico, Oaxaca and Teotitlan
  • Local transportation costs (bus, taxi, collectivo)
  • Gratuities and fees
  • Trip insurance, medical expenses, hospitalization, and other fees
  • Evening dinners, snacks, liquor/alcoholic beverages
  • Optional afternoon side trips and excursions

Upon registration for the workshop, we will provide you with:

  • Transportation options to get from the Oaxaca airport to Teotitlan del Valle and your bed and breakfast
  • A self-guided tour map of Teotitlan del Valle
  • How to get from the airport to the village
  • A list of recommended restaurants and places to stay/visit in Oaxaca
  • A seasonal packing list, and travel tips to make your journey easier and fun

Note: Zapotec weavers use the pedal loom, which they stand at to work. People who have difficulty standing for any period of time, or who have back problems are discouraged from attending. Many of Teotitlan’s streets and alleyways are cobblestone and/or dirt, with many uneven surfaces. It is a several block walk between lodging options and the weaving workshop. Please bring appropriate walking shoes.

Documentation

U.S. Citizens traveling to Mexico are required to carry a current passport, valid for at least three months after your re-entry to the U.S. It is your responsibility to obtain proper documentation. If you are not a U.S. Citizen, contact the Mexican embassy, consulate or national airline of Mexico for entry requirements.

Trip Insurance

Please consider purchasing travel insurance. Unforeseen circumstances of getting to Teotitlan del Valle could cost you more than you expected. In the event of an emergency or natural disaster caused beyond our control, trip insurance will cover any unexpected expenses.

Questions? Contact oaxacaculture@me.com