MAGIC AND COLOR IN WOVEN WOOL RUGS
Many years ago the artisans in Oaxaca elaborated rugs with neutral colors, but at the beginning of 1960, the artisans started dying the wool using plants, and this has given them access to a wide range of colors.
In Oaxaca the textile tradition has pre-Hispanic reminiscence that merged and enriched at the Spaniards’ arrival, who brought sheep-wool producers, the silk worms and mulberry trees, they also brought instruments to
transform these fibers into woven yarn and knits.
The colonial looms operated by pedals and shuttle were faster than the waist looms known here, and the creative imagination of the Zapotec artisans, gave the looms a characteristic touch that highlights the technique, the patience and the skill with which they manufacture the rugs.
Nowadays in Oaxaca the textile craft coming from the different regions of the State is identified by their designs and colors of great originality. However, in Teotitlán del Valle there are about 150 families that have dedicated themselves to this activity since several generations ago.
Their technique, and above all, their love for the textile, has been transmitted from generation to generation.
The time to manufacture each rug can vary from fifteen days to several months, it is a process 100% manual, everything depends on the complexity, size, design and the rug weaving work.
During my visit to Oaxaca I went to Teotitlán del Valle and visited the workshop of Manuel Lazo Martinez and Yanet Bazan Chavez they are the fifth generation of family weavers and have preserved and respected the traditional designs from their family history and at the same time they are innovators of new pieces.
They protect the environment by sowing plants, cultivating fruits and collecting insects, for the different dyes they use to color the rugs.
They showed us the process to make a rug. The first step is to wash the wool, this is a very important step
because they remove the moth that causes itching.
Then they card and spin the wool, they make the skeins of yarn and put them in a tub full of hot water where the tint is prepared and have added acid and lemon juice, which avoids the wool to fade.
There are a wide range of natural colors from nature, the grana cochinilla for the reds, the nochztil and insect that grows on the cactus for intense purples, the huizache pods, but be careful it has thorns, and the nutshell for brown, to mention a few. You can see short videos of the process and the different rugs they have woven.
It was a nice visit we were welcomed with typical chocolate and they showed us, how they elaborate it with the cacao beans.
Near to Teotitlan del Valle the rug municipality is the Tule tree, it is located in the church grounds of the center of Santa Maria del Tule.
It is a Montezuma cypress or ahuehuete meaning “old man water” . It is the stoutest tree trunk in the world. Its age in unknown but the estimates range between1200 and 3000 years. The best scientific estimate based on growth rates is 1400 to 1600.
local Zapotec legend holds that it was planted about 1400 years ago by Pechocha, a priest of the Aztec wind god Ehecatl- this age is in broad agreement with the scientific estimate: its location is on a sacred site. The tree is occasionally nicknamed the “tree of life” from the images of animals that are reputedly visible in the
tree’s gnarled trunk.
The park around the tree is very nice with some angels wings for everybody to take a picture.