Our rugs are not factory-made using large machines like many large rug and blanket producers. They are made lovingly by hand, with each rug taking days and sometimes weeks to complete. The weavers of Oaxaca maintain the ancient practice of using locally sourced wool, creating plant based dyes, and using small wooden foot-looms that results in heirloom rugs that will last a lifetime. Here is the process of their amazing craft.
Washing & Preparing Wool
Collecting Natural Dyes
To create the colorfast dyes, many weavers continue the Pre-Columbian practice of collecting or buying plants and insects from Oaxaca’s resource-rich central valley. Ingredients used include the indigo plant, walnut shell, marigold pedals, mesquite, pomegranate skins, and even the cochineal insect that lives on the nopal cactus.
Soaked, Dyed, & Washed
The weavers then choose their designs. Most traditional designs depicted on Zapotec textiles are based on pre-Columbian patterns. Some are based on stone temple carvings seen at the Mitla and Monte Alban ruins. Others are based on ancient Aztec and Mayan glyphs and deities.
Now it's time to finally start weaving the tapetes! Most Zapotec weavers use foot looms, constructed of pine by local carpenters. The weavers typically have around three looms in their small-family run operations. For each tapete, the weavers warp a foot loom and begin weaving the rug. The patterns develop as the weaver adds new coils of yarn to the warp. Because the tapetes are handwoven, they can take anywhere from 5 to 70 days or more to complete, depending on the size.