Tag Archives: tapestry weaving

Deck Your Halls with Oaxaca Rugs: Shop Open

We got this shipment of hand-woven Oaxaca rugs just in time for the holidays. Even if you are celebrating small (and we hope you are), these floor coverings (or display them as wall hangings) are a great decor enhancer for a fresh, new look. Made in Oaxaca, Mexico, by Taller Teñido a Mano on a 2-harness treadle loom, these tapestries are versatile and sturdy.

What makes these rugs special?

  • Our artisans use only naturally-dyed churro sheep wool
  • The wool is hand-carded and spun with the malacate — drop spindle
  • Dye materials include cochineal, indigo, wild marigold, wood bark, pomegranate (to name a few)
  • Our artisans dye the wool themselves — this is a slow process that yields amazing, vibrant and strong colors
  • The weaver uses his imagination to create unique, one-of-a-kind textiles
  • Designed in Oaxaca — made to last a lifetime

We also have Face Masks dyed with indigo, walnut and wild marigold, along with several skeins of cotton thread (3-1/2 ounces / 100 grams) dyed with indigo and wild marigold — perfect for weaving or embroidery.

Please place your order quickly to receive by December 24, 2020. Thanks so much.

#1–Indigo, cochineal, undyed wool, 23×36″ $285

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please DO NOT SELECT buying goods or services — so we don’t pay commissions. We also accept Venmo and I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal.

#2–Indigo, cochineal, un-dyed wool, 23×36 $285
#3–Cochineal, indigo, marigold, pomegranate, 23×23″ $195

Handmade in Oaxaca: Taller Teñido a Mano specializes in experimenting with natural dye extracts for different applications on fibers. They have 18 years of experience and lead a group of artisans to create tapestries, bags, home goods and other textiles, often supplying thread to other artisan weavers, too.

SOLD. #4–100% henequin (Jute/hemp) with indigo + undyed wool. 23×22″ $175
SOLD. #5–Indigo + undyed wool, 31×55″ $285
#6–Indigo, undyed wool, cochineal, pomegranate, 23×23″ $195
#7–Indigo ikat + zapote negro, 22×33″. $295
SOLD OUT. 4 Skeins of cotton yarn, 3.5 oz. /100 grams, $24 each
  • SOLD. Yarn Skein #A — wild marigold (1), $24
  • SOLD. Yarn Skein #B — indigo (1), $24
  • SOLD. Yarn Skein #C — indigo (1), $24
  • SOLD. Yarn Skein #D — indigo (1), $24
Face Masks, 100% cotton, lined with natural dyes, $17 each
  • SOLD. Face Mask #1–TOP: pomegranate dyed
  • SOLD. Face Mask #2–MIDDLE: walnut dyed
  • Face Mask #3–BOTTOM: indigo dyed
  • Face Mask #4–indigo dyed (not shown)
  • Face Mask #5– indigo dyed (not shown)
  • Face Mask #6 — indigo dyed (not shown)

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please DO NOT SELECT buying goods or services — so we don’t pay commissions. We also accept Venmo and I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal.

In Teotitlan del Valle, Hidden Treasures: Adrian Montaño

My North Carolina friends just left the village after spending a week with me celebrating a belated birthday. It was a bash! Mucho mezcal. Mucha fiesta. Mucha comida. Lots of travel to villages to visit favorite artisans.

We spent a morning with antiquarian Adrian Montaño in Teotitlan del Valle. I met Adrian a couple of months ago when I was visiting with friends Christophe and Rogelio who operate Maison Gallot. But, I had seen him around town, in the market, always impeccably dressed, a woven straw hat topping off the costume.

Adrian at his loom, with (left to right) Scott, Wendy, Kathryn (NC) and Carol (Texas)

Adrian lives in a part adobe, part brick and part concrete house tucked into the hillside above the village. He has a wonderful view. He has one very ancient loom. His house is adorned in antiquities and a beautiful altar. He has been weaving since he was a boy. He is now age 75 and still productive.

Virgins of Guadalupe and Soledad watch over revered ancestors on the altar

In the 1960’s, missionaries came to town and began a program of conversion, translating oral Zapotec into English. (Many still do, and call themselves linguists.) They befriended Adrian, who decided that rather than convert, he would learn English from them.

Adrian is also a painter, and adorns the jicara gourds a la Matisse

His language skills are impeccable and he speaks Zapotec, his first language, Spanish and English flawlessly. He says it is important for young people to keep the language traditions alive. To earn a living, he teaches Zapotec and English to village youth, and weaves ponchos.

The beautiful poncho that Wendy bought. Not natural dyes, but gorgeous nevertheless.

His hidden treasures are a stash of vintage textiles that he wove himself, mostly when he was in his twenties, and those he has collected over the years. We were treated to a Show and Tell. I am sharing the photos of these beauties here.

1930’s-1940’s tapestry, two wefts woven together, natural and synthetic dyes

In the 1930’s and 1940’s, most of the textiles woven were bed blankets. They were natural sheep wool or were synthetic dyes most common to the era — red, green and black. Motifs were animals, birds and symbols of Mexican nationalism. Few remain in pristine condition. Storage is a problem and moths love the dark “chocolate” richness of natural wool.

Panteleon or leopard motif on tapestry blanket, Teotitlan del Valle, 1930’s-40’s

Back then, the looms were narrower and to make a bigger tapestry, the weavers needed to create two exact pieces and then sew them together down the middle. Each side needed to match up! Only the masters could achieve this. These became either blankets or ponchos/serapes.

Famous vintage Victoriano Chavez rug design, Federico Chavez Sosa‘s grandfather

It was not until the early 1970’s that blankets then became adapted to become floor rugs. This happened when young travelers came to Oaxaca from the USA, saw the beautiful weavings produced in Teotitlan del Valle, understood the beginning craze of Santa Fe Style and worked with weavers to create sturdier floor tapestries.

Curved figures are the most difficult to achieve in tapestry weaving

Many back then brought Navajo designs with them and contracted with weavers to reproduce Native American designs that were then sold throughout the Southwest. Thus, began the rug-weaving boom in the village where I live.

Adrian wrapped in one of his vintage blankets

Today, there is a return to natural dyes and to the traditional Zapotec designs that are found on the stone walls of the Mitla Archeological Site. Moreover, young weavers are developing their own style, taking traditional elements and making them more contemporary, innovating to meet a changing marketplace.

Adrian Montaño has a reverence for his roots. He openly shared his collection with us. Many of the weavings had moth holes. Some were pristine. He tells me that those washed with amole, the traditional natural root used for soap, will prevent moths from nesting. But few people use amole these days.

Eagle and the Serpent Medallion, Mexican nationalism motif

I love Adrian’s ponchos. They are short-cropped and come to the waist. They are designed using the Greca (Greek-key) pattern so named by a European archeologist who explored Mitla.

Adrian wove this Covarrubias-inspired tapestry over 50 years ago

If you want to visit Adrian and purchase a poncho, please give him a call. (951) 166-6296. Only go with the intention of supporting him by purchasing what he makes.

A Story About Five Wool Rugs for Sale with 100% Natural Dyes, Oaxaca, Mexico

Omar Chavez Santiago went back to Mexico on Saturday but he left these five beautiful hand-woven tapestry rugs (tapetes) behind for me to sell for him and his family.

Omar’s family from Galeria Fe y Lola, use 100% churro sheep wool that is hand-spun on the drop spindle (malacate) in the Mixtec region of Oaxaca, high in the Sierra Madre del Sur about six hours from the city. Here, many women each raise a few sheep and twice  year when the fleece is thick enough, they shear them and spin the wool by hand.  They then collect the balls from among the group for the Chavez Santiago family to buy enough to work. Hand-spun wool, a rarity now, is more costly but is the strongest fiber for rug weaving.

Listen to this GistYarn podcast with Omar Chavez Santiago

#1, 4×6 ft, Mountains and Rain tapestry rug, $1,325

#1. Detail. Cochineal, indigo, natural sheep wool

That’s one reason why these wool rugs are collector and heirloom pieces. 

The other reason is because the family uses ONLY 100% natural dyes. That means they prepare wool that they dye themselves using local plant materials and cochineal. This is a completely vertical process all done in the family home studio. They do not work in synthetic or chemical dyes at all — so everything from them is designed to be environmentally sustainable and healthy.

#2. A Thousand Stars, 4×6′, $1,325. All natural dyes.

#2 Detail. Cochineal, indigo, wild marigold, zapote, pomegranate

Many in Teotitlan del Valle know how to give the cochineal dye demonstration, squeezing lime juice or baking soda on a bit of ground bugs to show visitors how the color explodes and changes.  This does not always mean that the makers use natural dyes in their tapestries. Only about a dozen families actually work with natural dyes because it it more expensive and time consuming.

SOLD. #3. Relampajo, 2-1/2×5′, $550. Indigo and wild marigold

After buying the handspun balls of wool, Omar, his mom Lola (nickname for Dolores) and his dad Fe (nickname for Federico), make the skeins of wool, wash and mordent the wool, then prepare the dye baths.  They will grind dried cochineal bugs, grind and ferment the Oaxaca-grown indigo, prepare other plant materials like wild marigold (pericone), pomegranate, pecan shells and leaves, zapote negro, tree moss, huizache (acacia vine seed pods), palo de aguila (alderwood) and other dye sources. They have developed formulas to get over 40 shades of red, purple, orange and pink from the cochineal insect itself.

They are weavers, chemists, herbalists and artists.

SOLD. #4. Mariposas, 2-1/2 x 5′, Cochineal and wild marigold. $550.

This is #slowfiber and #smallbatches. It can take a week to dye enough yarn for one medium-sized rug. Another week to dress the loom and attach the warp threads. The weaver creates his or her design and executes it, standing at the two-pedal loom for several months working a six-hour day, six days a week. That’s about all the back can take!

When you visit a weaver, ask to see the dye pots. Weavers who work in small volume production have small inventories and are more likely to use natural dyes.

#5. Campo Rojo. 2-1/2×5′. $550. Cochineal, marigold, natural sheep wool.

In the fiber world we ask #whomademyclothes. The #fashionrevolution brings our attention to asking if what we buy is #fastfashion and disposable or made to last with excellent quality.  This is not just about clothes. It is about supporting makers who are using ethical practices, paying fair wages and selling at fair value for time and materials.

It can take 90 days to weave a rug made in this way. If it costs $500 USD, please do the math. That’s a little more that $5 USD per hour.

One of the most gratifying things for me living in Mexico is the opportunity to buy direct from the maker. I know my purchase is meaningful and valued. This is also an important reason that I organize textile study tours — to bring visitors directly to the women and men who make the clothes and home goods and jewelry, and all the beautiful artisan work that Mexico is famous for.  Afterall, in the end, it’s all about the relationship, not the thing!

I hope you will consider purchasing one of these beautiful rugs from Galeria Fe y Lola. Funds go directly to the family. Then, you will know the answer to #whomademyrug

How to Buy: Send me an email with your name, the item you want to buy, and your mailing address. I will respond with availability, send you a PayPal invoice (or you can mail me a check) that includes the cost of the rug and mailing.  Fixed price shipping is $35 per small piece and $60 per large piece anywhere in lower 48 states. Inquire about mailing prices to Canada.

 

 

Oaxaca Rug Exhibition + Sale @ Dos Perros, Durham, NC, October 5, 5:30-8:30 PM

All Friends of Oaxaca Are Invited!

El Dio del Maize: Corn God of Mexico–Rug Weaving

This afternoon Federico Chavez Sosa completed this extraordinary handwoven 100% wool rug created with natural dyes and cut it from his loom.  It is a complex design that requires special skill to execute the curves and circles to perfection.  The piece measures 32″ x 57″ and is $500 USD. Dyes are from the cochineal bug, pomegranates, wild marigold and the natural color of sheep wool. Federico is a master weaver from the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca.   Since I am in Teotitlan now, I would be glad to bring it back for you and ship it from North Carolina after August 1.  We can arrange payment with PayPal.