MEXICO CITY, Thursday, September 3, 2015–Today is an interlude in Mexico City as I travel between Oaxaca and Tenancingo, the ikat rebozo capital of Mexico. I’m joining Los Amigos de los Artes Populares de Mexico, a group collectors and appreciators of Mexican Folk Art. We are traveling together to meet the grand masters of Mexican rebozo weaving in Tenancingo this week before the feria (fair, exhibition and sale) begins.
Most of these rebozos, or shawls, are made on the pedal floor loom or are machine woven now. Only a few weavers, like Don Evaristo Borboa, remain who work on the traditional back strap loom. This is an endangered art and on this trip we will meet Maestro Evaristo in his studio for a demonstration. Rebozo prices can range from 500 to 20,000 pesos depending on quality.
The Mexican jaspe version of the ikat design involves tying the warp threads, then dyeing the threads, so the tied area doesn’t take the color, before dressing the loom. Then, the weft threads, also tie-dyed, are woven into intricate, repetitive geometric patterns. Sometimes, the cloth looks like it takes on the shimmer of water or a contemporary Agam lithograph.
Men are the weavers of the rebozo cloth. Women, the puntadoras, specialize in making the elaborate hand-tied punta or fringes. This can often take up to four months, depending on complexity. It may take six months to complete the cloth and fringe.
Click here to see my post on El Rebozo, Made in Mexico, the comprehensive exhibition that just closed at Mexico City’s Franz Mayer Museum.