History

Sisters Zapotec Collection is the finest weaving available from the master weavers of the ancient village of Teotitlan del Valle in the state of Oaxaca.  Oaxaca is located in southern Mexico.

The weaving tradition of this village predates the Spaniards’ introduction of sheep and the vertical frame loom.  In Pre-Columbian times, in this same village, they wove using cotton, furs and feathers.  Until rather recently, they wove only for other Zapotecs of this region.

The Zapotecs were once an advanced nation which ruled southern Mexico for over 400 years.  They are a proud and happy people, still cooking over an open fire, still speaking to each other in their Zapotec language, and still maintaining their own culture and form of government within, yet still a part of Mexico.  As artisans, they consider themselves blessed to be able to work at home with their families.  Each year there are 32 fiestas which are attended by all.  A wedding party may last three days with live music.  Food is offered to every visitor of a home.  They are gentle, honest and spiritual people, weaving their dreams.

Today, the 7000 Zapotecs of this mountainous village are devoted primarily to weaving, with each home having a number of looms.  It is a family cottage industry, with several members of the family participating in some way.  Sorting, carding, spinning, dyeing and weaving are all done in the home.  About 70% of the weavers are men.  A weaving from Teotitlan del Valle now hangs in the Permanent Collect at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The finest weavers continue to use predominately traditional, organic dye materials, as well as natural shades of wool.  Each family has their own closely guarded secrets for the dyeing process, and there are, from family to family, wide variations in the quality of colors produced.

While there is an abundance of artisans, it is also true that some of the families have focused on producing loosely woven rugs with poor chemical dyes, unfinished ends and either cotton or an acrylic blend yarn to sell to the tourists.

Sisters Zapotec Collection has developed from a home to home search in the village for the finest weavings available.  These pieces of ethnic art were chosen for the strength of the weave, quality of the dyes, complexity of the design and the expression of warmth and cultural spirit.

Click here to learn more about the rugs.

To see more photos, click here.

A large batch of yarn has finished being dyed.

A large batch of yarn has finished being dyed.