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Four Hand Woven Brown and Beige Cotton Zapotec Placemats - Oaxaca Earth
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Working on a traditional handloom, Carmen Ruiz weaves a set of placemats. She alternates bands of golden brown cotton with pale beige and adds two rows of intricate arrow motifs.
- 100% cotton
- 0.14 lbs
- 13 inches L x 17.3 inches W
THE STORY BEHIND THE PRODUCT
Artisan Organization: Carmen Ruiz
"I was born in the weaving town of Teotitlan, so it was natural for me to in weaving on the traditional loom. Zapotec is my first language and I speak very little Spanish. My husband Alberto is another featured artist who specializes in Zapotec rugs and textiles.
"My childhood was a happy one, growing up with parents who specialize in the chicote, or treadle loom, which was introduced in Oaxaca by Spanish religious orders during colonial times. What is unique about this loom is that it is completely built out of wood.
"My parents taught me how to weave when I was 15 years old, and the first piece I worked on was a rebozo shawl, which I gave to my mom as a Mother's Day gift.
"The fact that this is an art form we have inherited from our ancestors made me decide to preserve it by continuing to weave.
"I work with virgin wool, which I dye with colors from natural plants and seeds, such as indigo for blue, cochineal for red and orange, and a flower we call pericon for yellow. I also use the marigold flower and for black, I use acacia thorns.
"I've been weaving since the 1980s and, in 2002, I set up my own workshop where I specialize in shawls and bedspreads. The most challenging aspect of starting on my own was having a place where I could exhibit my creations. I don't speak Spanish very well, and I struggle to understand it, so there were moments when I felt exasperated by it all. However, this is something I've been overcoming little by little and, thanks to my husband and children, I now understand Spanish better.
"Working with you means that now I have a place where I can display my work and, for that, I thank you.""