In recent weeks, I’ve been in conversation with Scott Roth, one of the early entrepreneurs who came to Oaxaca and Teotitlan del Valle in the mid-70’s as a young Californian, an unencumbered explorer of culture and artisanry. He discovered the serapes and blankets of Teotitlan and imagined them to be repurposed as floor rugs for the growing US Southwest Style home decor and design field. This was the beginning of the making and exporting of handwoven rugs to the American southwest. Scott has written a personal history of rug development, weaving culture, and what it was like in Oaxaca during those years along with photos. I’ll be publishing his writing and photographs in the next weeks.
Before leaving Oaxaca, I packed up textiles to ship back to Taos, New Mexico, where I landed about a week ago. I have a wide-ranging assortment of hand-woven goods from Chiapas and Oaxaca. These include ponchos, huipiles, blusas, rebozos, bufandas, pillow covers, jewelry, and assorted miscellaneous items. I’ll be photographing and listing these in the next week. Please keep your eyes tuned to blog posts coming to your inbox!
In exciting news, I’ve been talking with a San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, weaving family who we’ve known for several years. We visit them during our Chiapas Textile Study Tour in their remote highlands village of Chilinjoveltik, where Maruch and Micaela employ traditional back-strap loom weaving techniques to make those traditional furry Churro wool wrap around skirts and ponchos worn by women and men. They felt the wool textile with their feet, dancing on the wool, massaging it with pressure and water, until the fibers knit together and the result looks like a sheep pelt. I bought a couple of these and now use them as floor mats in the bath, bedroom and by the kitchen sink. They are making four small rugs for me in various shades of natural wool: creamy white, brown, grey and black. They will be ready in a month and I’ll be posting them for sale.
Brisaida is one of my favorite weavers from San Juan Colorado, on Oaxaca’s Costa Chica, that stretch of land along the Pacific Coast extending from Puerto Escondido north to Acapulco. We visit her on our Oaxaca Coast Textile Study Tour. She contacted me this week to appeal for help. She has some amazing huipiles and blusas available for sale. I said, sure, I’ll help you! Finding buyers for extraordinary work is the biggest challenge that indigenous weavers face. Most speak only a native language and without Spanish, markets elude them and they depend on middlemen who often pay less than the value of a textile and the work women put into making them . You have always been to generous with your support for these extraordinary artisans. Stay tuned for these pieces that I hope to post early next week!
Weave a Real Peace (WARP) is an international textile organization that I have belonged to for many years (we organized their 2017 international conference in Oaxaca). We admire what they do to support and promote indigenous artisans worldwide. Their annual conference is in Kent, Ohio, from July 13-16. We have been invited to make the closing presentation on July 16. Perhaps you will consider attending!
Come travel with us to explore and discover the weaving culture of Oaxaca and Chiapas. Space open in most of our 2024 tours. A $500 deposit will hold your reservation for our multi-day excursions and a 25% deposit will reserve your space on our day tours. Scroll down the right column to see what you might enjoy! Saludos.