Artisan Organization: Gregorio Ruiz
"I like what I do, and I'm inspired by my surroundings and the culture here in Oaxaca. One of the challenges I face is to become independent, have my own designs and select my color schemes. And I want my art to reach people from other places and be recognized, that our weaving tradition isn't lost.
"Now I really enjoy being with my children and playing with them. I like to plant fruit trees and take care of them and, when there is more time, to read and devote more time to the passions that give me life and allow me to grow.
"I feel very grateful and excited when you acquire original crafts from Mexican artisans. Each of my weavings is made with love and patience. I'll continue working to create designs and colors full of joy and the human touch.
"I feel happy to display my handwoven Zapotec rugs and accessories, and make them known to the whole world. Thank you!"
Original Artisan Story
"I am the youngest son in a family of weavers from Teotitlan del Valle, and I learned to weave from my parents and brothers. I would watch them prepare the yarn, how they dyed it with natural colors, and thread them on the loom. I feel very proud to preserve this art, which my parents learned from my grandparents. My father and brothers are featured artists too.
"I began weaving my own Zapotec wool rugs when I finished middle school and, since then, I've shown my work in different exhibitions and art fairs in Oaxaca and throughout the country. The recognition and congratulations I have received from clients and friends has been amazing!
"What I enjoy most about weaving is the creative aspect, from designing a rug to weaving it. I wove my first rug when I was 13 years old and I remember my father being so pleased with it that he didn't hesitate in taking it with him to sell. In 1966, I started my own workshop, and my wool weavings have traveled beyond Mexico's frontiers. I combine natural elements, like flowers, plants, seeds and tree bark when I prepare the dyes I'll use for a specific design. I use lime and salt to fix the colors. I recycle the remaining water so I get different shades of a particular color.
"I describe my work as unique and admirable – I love what I do! The culture and natural environment of Oaxaca inspire me. But it was a great challenge to break away and start on my own, trying to be an independent weaver with my own creative identity.
"I was born to weave — academia was definitely not for me! I remember skipping school with my friends to swim in the lakes and pick guavas. Nowadays I love playing with my children and together we are planting trees. If I have the time, I do like to read.
"My thanks go to all of you for your interest in our handwoven work. I will never stop creating new designs and color combinations, which I hope you like. I am happy to be able to count on you to show my rugs to the whole world.""