"I don't use any chemicals because I want to contribute to the preservation of the environment and our planet. I make the colors from natural elements such as leaves, seeds and flowers."
"Hola! I was born and raised in Teotitlán del Valle, home of the legendary Zapotec rugs. It is a beautiful place and I have fond memories of growing up with my five siblings and parents, all of them artisans. I wasn't able to finish school due to financial difficulties, but I knew I wanted to perfect my skills weaving rugs. My brothers are Gregorio and Alberto, Novica featured artists, and I'm related to the Ruiz Bazan Family.
"I started learning when I was 12 years old because I’ve always been intrigued with this Zapotec legacy of ours. Now I enjoy creating my own designs as it represents a way of self-expression. I remember the first rug I ever made, it was 15" x 19" in red hues and it takes place of pride in my home.
"Everyone criticized the second design I made for the colors I used even and yet it's the one that sold the most!
"I've been dedicated to this craft since 1999 and now I even have my own workshop where people can come and see that my art is natural, cheerful and inspired by the sunset.
"After shearing the sheep we clean and wash the wool so we can card it large wire combs so its soft and then we can spin it on a wood spinning wheel. We wash it again with a plant called amole which makes a lot of foam and grows here in the mountain. That way the wool doesn't lose its purity. If we were to wash it with a commercial soap, the wool loses its luster and makes it almost impossible for the natural dyes to take.
"We then let the wool dry prior to dying with such organic pigments as cochineal, pomegranate peelings, oak bark, peelings off the huacal tree, and walnut shell. We take the lichen off the rocks, and we also use flowers. We let the dye stand for about a month and when its ready we bring it to a boil, then we let the hanks of wool soak for about a half an hour and then we let them dry and breathe. We wash them again to stop the discoloring.
"We wrap the wool in reed needles so we can use it in the loom. When we start weaving, a small rug can take us up to three days, whereas a large one can take up to a month and a half.
"I hope you like my rugs, because I weave them with natural wool. I don't use any chemicals because I want to contribute to the preservation of the environment and our planet. I make the colors from natural elements such as leaves, seeds and flowers.
"I would like to thank Novica for this opportunity, I hope I don’t let you down."
Striking geometric symbols are inspired by ancestral designs seen in ancient temples. Meticulously woven of virgin wool, they grace a colorful rug. Alberto Ruiz García and his wife craft this beautiful Zapotec weaving on the handloom, naming the design....read more
Framed in fields of blue, stars twinkle in the vast Mexican sky. Mario Chávez weaves a beautiful rug on the traditional Zapotec handloom. Named "Relámpago" in Spanish, the cool blue carpet is crafted of virgin wool tinted with natural dyes.
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