Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Woven Dreams
crafty/part 3

photo:Joyce Snyder
I once lived in Oaxaca,Mexico.
I worked,
had a cafe,
 gave birth to my son there.
Oaxaca is my heart.

I have a profound love of textiles.
I have a profound love of Oaxaca.
Just by chance, Oaxaca is known not only for it’s textiles
but for it’s methods of weaving and use of natural dyes.

In 2007,I was awarded a teaching sabbatical.
A chance
 to fulfill a dream.

Through “Oaxaca Cultural Navigator”,
I was able to create a personalized workshop in Teotitlan del Valle,the traditional weaving village 31 km outside of Oaxaca.
My teacher, Federico Chavez Santiago, is a fourth generation weaver.
My workshop was called “Dancing on the Loom”
It included not only weaving
but dyeing wool with indigo (plant) and cochineal (paddle cactus bug)

Federico and his family
from his wife to three children
are all exceptional artisan weavers.
Zapoteca is their first language,
Spanish second
then English.
His eldest son,Eric,works in education in the Museo de Textiles in Oaxaca.
Federico and Eric have documented over 90 color formulas
ranging from blush
 to crimson
to aubergine
using cochineal.

Federico wanted to know the story of my rug.
”You will dream about it” he said.
And he was right.
After carefully choosing wools dyed with only natural substances,
my story emerged in a dream.
My rug became
the story of the creation of the Earth.
The molten lava core
rising to meet
the land,
Reaching up
to the red gates of the Heavens.
I learned to hand roll and knot the fringe.

Federico has a gallery
of his family’s rugs for sale.
I wanted a souvenir,a reminder
 of his work
and my time there.
I chose a soft grey and cream rug of natural undyed wool.
Woven in the Oaxaca key pattern from the archeological site of Mitla (City of the Dead) ,
the graphic nature of this rug works beautifully
with my midcentury modern home.

Federico’s rug is a beautiful reminder of my time 
“Dancing on the Loom” 
and the place of my heart.

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