Rug Gallery and Weaving Demonstrations
Since 500 B.C. the Zapotecs of the central valleys of Oaxaca have been weaving and trading their textiles, originally made from cotton, all over Latin America. After being conquered by the Aztecs and then the Spanish they were introduced to the wool of the Merino sheep which is prized for it's long fibers; making the process of spinning easier and giving additional strength to the fabric. The weavers in Teotitlan today source their best quality wool from San Bartolo Chichicapa in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca.
The standing two-pedal looms were also introduced by the Spanish who taught the Zapotec men how to use the foot pedal. This significantly increased the speed at which the shuttle could be sent through the warp threads.
For a rug to be of top quality, it would be tightly woven (somewhere in the region of 20 threads per inch) to ensure that the rug keeps its shape longer and looks better. Most rugs are woven on a cotton warp which gives more strength, however, all-wool rugs are softer and have more body. A good rug would lie completely flat, whether on the floor or hanging on the wall, and would always have straight edges.
Names of the Major Designs
Contents of the Wool
Cotton warp and nylon weft for strength
Fine Rug Care
A few special techniques will help your new rug last a lifetime. It is handmade art but not fragile. Regular vaccuming will keep dirt from lodging in the fibers. However, regular shaking outdoors is even better. If you vaccum it, run the machine perpendicular to the warp to avoid stretching it. Although color fast in water, the colors will fade slightly over time if in the bright sunlight. An occasional steam clean will keep your work of art fresh and clean, but please avoid harsh chemicals as the PH of strong detergents can change the colors of natural dyes. Your rug can also be cleaned by a carpet dealer who has experience with naturally-dyed carpets like Turkish Kilims and Persian Tribal rugs.
Feb 17 2004
Feb 16 2004
Feb 10 2004
" Thank you for your extreme patience as we debate colors and sizes! We very much appreciate your talent and the beauty of your creations. "
Barbara and Richard Walton, Napa, California
Jan 21 2004
" Thankyou so much for the excellent lunch and then the fascinating
explanation of creating dyes, carding, spinning and weaving. You do excellent,
beautiful work and are a true artist. "
~ ~ ~
by LUDWIG ZELLER
I was formed upon this loom, from eternity my bones support
Yet this, my time, belongs to the Other. Years pass like
My mother wove: I saw, and nursed from her thread that
my wife weaves
Walls of warm adobe, my days are made of melancholy sweetness
In us existence repeats as figures, rhombic shapes, the
And if at last we are only the unraveling of the dark
Between warp and weft, my destiny: invisible faces
~ ~ ~
Ludwig Zeller, poet, editor and artist, born in Chile, emigrated to Canada and currently resides in Oaxaca. Among his many books you can find "The Marble Head and Other Poems " and "The Ghost's Tattoos".