Thursday, July 15, 2010

Frida Kahlo and the Zapotec Weavings of the Teotitlan Village

One of my favorite places in Oaxaca is the The Textile Museum which currently has a gorgeous exhibition featuring ancient Chinese textiles that is JUST jaw dropping. Although I can spend hours with a loop staring at the details, there are also hundreds of books dedicated to the weaving artform that make me feel like a kid in a candy store.

Over the years I have collected hundreds of textiles- Huichol yarn weavings, HMong tapestries, Haitian Drapos, Mayan huipils, Quiero tribe antiquities and and on and on. Textiles are easy to collect and easy to shove in a backpack, thus the ever expanding collection.

Currently, along with getting ready for a couple of exhibits States side, I have decided to do an in depth study on Frida Kalho and her amazing wardrobe. I hope to have completed a body of work that focuses on Frida and her fashion sense within a year or so.

Frida's style screams traditional Mexico- Zapotec weavings, intricate embroideries, embellished textiles and patterns galore. Mexican pattern work is very inspirational and inviting; I am looking forward to delving into the history of each particular outfit that Frida wore for that very reason.

One really cannot study Mexican fashion without understanding the history and culture which heavily influences every nuance of Mexican wear. Today, Abel and I ventured to Teotitlan Del Valle, a gorgeous village rich in history and culture to study and wander. This Zapotec village still maintains its original dialect and is a prosperous place that seems to hold time still by preserving it's history. Most locals are still dedicating their lives to the spinning, dyeing and looming of wool. The colours are vibrant and the designs maintain the imagery of the past. These weavers have followed in the footsteps of their anscestors in the tedious process of their creations. The land and all of it's riches continues to stay with the families that were born of the Zapotec lineage.
This village is infamous for their high quality weaving created from natural dyes and weavings made with traditional looms. Here is a photo of the home of one of the more established local weavers....few starving artists in this region. Weavers live quite well (not all live as well as this one...but they are definitely NOT struggling) their highly sought after crafts bring busloads of tourist from all over the world seeking to buy their exquisitely crafted wares. This always makes me happy to see an artist rightfully enjoying the fruits of their labour.

Today we had the pleasure hanging out with Elia and her father Gaudencio Mendoza whose works we have for sale in our Etsy Store. They are a terrific family- I am looking forward to trading with them.

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