Photos: Barbara Joan Schaffer

On Sunday, January 21, the 9th annual Dreamweaver exposition and sale will be held at the Hotel Santa Fe, above Café Cafetal, from 10 am to 4 pm.

The Mixtec women of Oaxaca's Costa Chica have been spinning thread on hand spindles and weaving cloth on back-strap looms for thousands of years. Over 60 of these weavers make up a cooperative called Tixinda which is dedicated not only to keeping the tradition alive, but also to exhibiting and selling their work beyond their native mountain village of Pinotepa de Don Luis, five hours north-west of Puerto.

The January 21 event will not only feature traditional garments like huipil tunic dresses and rebozo shawls, but also table linens, throw pillows and bags. Masked dancers from the community will perform the tejorones carnival dance throughout the day.

The Tixinda women spin the thread from the white cotton native to the region and from the rare, brown and green coyuchi cotton that grows there. The red dye comes from thousands of crushed female cochineal beetles harvested from the nopal cactus; the blue and black dyes are from the native indigo plant. It takes around two weeks of preparation and spinning to produce one kilo of cotton thread. A traditional huipil represents around five months of spinning and weaving.

There will also be exquisite, hand-carved gourds and ornaments produced by the men of the community. Sales of these articles support the cooperative of 15 Mixtec men, all over the age of 55, who still practice the ancient art of dyeing hand-spun cotton with the purple dye, tixinda, which is milked from the púrpura pansa sea snail. The documentary, “Dyes and Colors of the Coast”, which explains this process, will be shown throughout the day.

With the collaboration of Mexican Dreamweavers, the weavers have displayed their work at the New York Botanical Garden, Chicago’s National Museum of Mexican Art, at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Feria de Maestros del Arte in Ajijic, Lake Chapala.

This year will also feature works by the Ikoot weavers from San Mateo del Mar. The money from these sales will go to earthquake relief for their region.

For more information, visit MexicanDreamweavers on FB. If you would like to become a Dreamweaver volunteer, contact:
Patrice Perillie
U.S. (646) 688-3149, Mexico (954) 102-1792

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