Famed Mixtec Weavers Coming to San Miguel

By Patrice Perillie

Teofila Avedaño López

In the community of Pinotepa de Don Luis, situated on the Costa Chica of Oaxaca, artisans of Mixtec origin, masters in the art of weaving on back-strap looms, weave beautiful cloth that they use in different types of dress. There is the posahuanco, which is a wraparound skirt of pre-Hispanic origin; the huipíl, a tunic dress used for ceremonial purposes; and the rebozo, a shawl used by the women both for warmth and to carry things, including their babies!

The process of harvesting purple dye and saving the mollusk from extinction
Thu, Feb 12, 7pm
The home of Patrice Wynne
Ignacio Cruces 4
Colonia Independencia
50 pesos

The women weavers of this community have formed a cooperative called Tixinda that has over 60 women, both young and old, who are passing down the 3,000+ year old tradition of spinning and weaving from one generation to the next. In addition to producing their traditional dress, Tixinda also produces table linens, bed linens, throw pillows, and bags, using both traditional and contemporary designs.

The men of this town struggle to preserve a pre-Hispanic practice of dyeing hand-spun cotton with the ancient purple dye Tixinda, which is milked from the nearly extinct purpura pansa mollusk, which lives in a few sacred bays along the coast of Oaxaca. They also dye their thread with cochinilla, a red dye derived from thousands of crushed female beetles, that grows in the nopal cactus; and the blues and blacks of the native anil or indigo plant.

The women of Tixinda hand-spin the cotton thread with a spindle called a malacate. Both natural white cotton and the rare, brown coyuchi cotton are grown in this town and are spun into thread and painstakingly woven on back-strap looms by the women of this community. It takes about two weeks of preparation and spinning to produce one kilo of cotton thread, and approximately three months to weave a traditional huipil using 4 kilos of thread, which is why their textiles are prized by museums, collectors, and people who love beautiful textiles!

The Mixtec weavers and dyers will visit San Miguel de Allende to exhibit and sell their huipiles and other prized textiles at the San Miguel Writers Conference, Wednesday, February 11, through Sunday, February 15, at the Artisans Marketplace at the Hotel Real de Minas, which is open to the public during the conference and is located right next to the bookstore.

In addition, a special screening of two documentary films ⎯ which demonstrate the process of harvesting the purple dye and saving the mollusk from extinction, and the Tixinda weaving cooperative ⎯ will be shown at the home of Patrice Wynne, owner of Abrazos, on Thursday,  February 12, at 7pm, at Ignacio Cruces 4 in Colonia Independencia. Tickets are 50 pesos and are sold at Abrazos, Zacateros 24 or at the door. Traditional wares will be available for sale. Please support the master weavers and help to keep this ancient art alive, and take home a handwoven piece of Mixtec indigenous culture to wear.

For more information contact Patrice Perillie for Mexican Dreamweavers: Mexico (954) 102 1792, or email: mexicandreamweavers@hotmail.com


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