Posts Tagged ‘weaving’

It’s been one year since the passing of maestro Arnulfo Mendoza Ruíz.

Tejedor de los sueños by Charles Barth

Tejedor de los sueños by Charles Barth (alas, with reflections from other pieces)

To honor his life, an exhibit of works by his friends, colleagues, and family was inaugurated at La Mano Mágica on March 13, 2015.

ManoMagica exhibit

His older son, Gabriel Mendoza Gagnier, curated this amazing collection of paintings, weaving, and artesanía.

Assisted by Arnulfo’s companion, Yukiko, the opening featured, not only amazing art, but also mezcal, tamales, and surprise entertainment by Carnaval dancers from San Martín Tilcajete, wearing masks carved by some of the well-known carvers from the village, including Inocenio Vásquez and Jésus Sosa Calvo.

Jésus Sosa Calvo had carved the signature entry sign for La Mano Mágica and recently, unasked, came by to freshen up the paint that had faded over the years under the intense Oaxaca sun.


While, in the words of Manuel Matus Manzo,  Arnulfo Mendoza may have gone on “to meet the Jaguar and the god Murcielago,” the dreams of his magical hands remain.

Finally, this beautiful poem by Alberto Blanco from the exhibit’s catalog…

Mitades a Arnulfo

La mitad de la tierra
no sueña con la luna.
La mitad de la luna
no sueña con el sol.

Si la luna es la trama,
y si el sol es la urdimbre,
esa tierra es la tela
donde acaso se vive.

La vida es la comedia
ya la muerte es el drama,
pero el textil de siempre
es la urdimbre y la trama.

La mitad de la vida,
la mitad de la muerte:
una tela tejida
con un hilo de suerte.


Read Full Post »

When it seems as if we are surrounded by fear, hatred, and violence, it’s good to step back, look around, and remind ourselves that there is also generosity, love, and beauty in this world.  And so I give you my exquisite new mohair tapete (rug), custom woven for me by Antonio Ruiz Gonzalez.  It turned out even more beautiful than I imagined!

Antonio Ruiz Glz. and family standing in front of rug

Here is Antonio (on the left) in front of my new rug with his delightful family, including his brother Sergio (on the right) — from whom I’ve bought several small tapetes.  More about the latter, later!  Should you find yourself in Teotitlán del Valle, do stop by the family workshop (Av. Juárez No. 107), where Antonio, Sergio, and their father Zacarías weave their magic.

Read Full Post »

Congratulations to one of my favorite weavers, Amalia Martínez Casas from the mountain village of Tamazulápam del Espíritu Santo, winner of the 13th Popular State Art Prize “Benito Juarez” 2013.  The award, presented several days ago by Oaxaca governor Gabino Cue, recognized and honored her work using the backstrap loom, using cotton thread and wool dyed with indigo and banana peel, to weave the traditional costume of Tamazulápam in the Mixe.

Three or four times a year, an artisan fair is held in Llano Park.  Puestos upon puestos of pottery, wood carved alebrije, jewelry, and textiles are on display.  It was here, two years ago, where I first discovered the exquisite work of the tiny and talented weaver, Amalia Martínez Casas.


I couldn’t resist buying this huipil; a subtle black on charcoal grey that looks both traditional here in Oaxaca and very hip with black leggings and boots in el norte.

And, then the next time, even though the dye was a little uneven, I couldn’t resist buying this short huipil — the color had me at, hola!

Her well-crafted technique and finely drawn designs are sophisticated, be they executed in subdued huipiles or brilliant red serapes.

Every time I wear one of her works of art, people ask, “Where is it from?”  “Who made it?”  “Where can I get one?”  I’ve pointed several friends to her stall in Llano Park during artisan fairs and last week, at the request from a friend in California, I bought this one.  The slight green tint will be perfect with her red hair.  (Yes, this one’s for you, Louise!)

Photos of the award ceremony can be found HERE and video is available HERE.  (Amalia Martínez Casas can be seen beginning at 6:00 minutes.)  And, for more of her creations, check out a blog post Chris did last January.

Read Full Post »

Samuel Bautista Lazo is one of the smartest, joyous, and Zen-like people I know.

Sam sitting cross-legged in a natural alcove in the mountain

Sam is my young, previously mentioned, Zapotec friend who is getting his Ph.D. in Sustainable Manufacturing at the University of Liverpool.  Sam is from Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, a village watched over by El Picacho, the sacred mountain — whose presence is unmistakable and palpable.

El Picacho

The village is known for its traditional performances of the Danza de la Pluma (about which I’ve posted on numerous occasions) and their skillful and creative weavings with wool.  Like a majority of its Zapotec residents, Sam and his family weave — father, Mario Bautista Martínez; mother, Leonor Lazo González; and brother, Celestino Bautista Lazo.

Sam and his family pose in their yard

The family was featured last year in an article, The Crafts of Oaxaca, posted on the Lark Crafts website.  Like many others, on my first visit in 2007, I couldn’t resist buying a couple of tapetes (rugs), including this one, which now serves as a welcome to all who enter my little casita.

Tapete on floor: geometric patterns in rust, beige, agua

A friend and I returned six months later and had the privilege of climbing to the top of El Picacho with Sam.

Sam on top of El Picacho

And no, I did not join Sam in leaping from one rocky peak to the other!

Looking forward to your return, Sam!

(ps)  Here is a Dixza video of  Sam from 2008, where he discusses the interpretation of the symbols and patterns woven into Zapotec rugs.  You might also want to check out others in his Dixza series from Teotitlán del Valle.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: