BETWEEN THE AVANT-GARDE AND THE TRADITION OF MEXICAN RUGS
The tradition of tailoring Mexican rugs is woven through centuries of history and is nurtured day by day with the immense national creativity that emerges from our wide diversity of traditions and modernization processes throughout the country. Through our customs, culture mix and cosmogonies, Mexico is in constant transformation and is projected to the world as a creative and innovative epicenter.
Nowadays, our rich creative ecosystem is recognized worldwide, as the techniques for making rugs that have been passed down from generation to generation have been perfected over several years with the incorporation of different techniques and materials that evolve through the perfect mix between tradition, creativity and modern ideas.
The important tradition of tailoring rugs in the central valleys of Oaxaca, which has its origin in the community of Teotitlán del Valle, an entity that is less than 30 kilometers away from the city of Oaxaca, lives in a community of indigenous artisans, who are specialized in the elaboration of wool rugs. Today, about 75% of the 5,600 people of the population, participate in some aspect of producing the fabric.
Here, the creative imagination of the Zapotec artisan has turned the decorative rugs into a jewel coveted in the national and international market by the characteristic seal that highlights the technique, skill and art of working the wool, dyeing and weaving it, giving way to unique creations of its kind, such as rugs that can be used as carpets or decorative wall elements.
The manufacturing time of each rug can vary from fifteen days to several months, as it is a 100% manual process that depends on the complexity of the work, size, design and rhythm, which is why only one person can make a rug on the loom and they are signed just like a picture from a painter.
Some of the designs they make are related to Oaxacan symbols such as the tree of life or specific patterns, the so-called “grecas”, which represent the dreams and aspirations of numerous indigenous Oaxacan groups that have used the mega diversity that surrounds the valleys of the region as inspiration.
Some artisans in this region even expand their traditional designs to new frontiers by combining wool with agave fiber, with petate, palm leaves or other natural materials obtained from plants and insects, with techniques that extend over a thousand years of Zapotec tradition.
The exceptional artisanal textile seal of this community can be observed with the use of “grana cochinilla”, a parasite of the nopal of Castile from which bright colours of up to 60 shades are obtained. Therefore, during the Viceroyalty, the Mexican cochineal trade was a millionaire business due to its high demand in Europe. In this period, grana cochinilla imported from Mexico, dyed the clothes of kings, nobles and clergy throughout Europe and was even used to paint crafts, carpets, furniture and food.
In recent years, several groups of national and international designers have found in collaboration with traditional artisans not only a way to generate original products of impeccable quality, but also the opportunity to acquire knowledge and form new cultural and creative companies, which by joining two universes — the one inherited by our original cultures, and that of contemporary designers — have created their own style that defines our identity from the reinterpretation of our traditions.
The essence of this Mexican tradition will be one of the relevant points that will be exhibited at DOMOTEX 2019.