Woolen Woven Goods
Mexico’s finest wool weavings come from Teotitlán del Valle, in the Valley of Oaxaca, less than an hour’s drive east of Oaxaca city. The weaving tradition, carried on by Teotitlán’s Zapotec-speaking families, dates back at least 2,000 years. Many families still carry on the arduous process, making everything from scratch. They gather the dyes from wild plants and the bodies of insects and sea snails. They hand-wash, card, spin, and dye the wool and even travel to remote mountain springs to gather water. The results, they say, vale la pena (are worth the pain): intensely colored, tightly woven carpets, rugs, and wall-hangings, known in Mexico as tapetes, that retain their brilliance for generations.
Rougher, more loosely woven blankets, jackets, and serapes come from other parts, notably mountain regions, especially around San Cristóbal de las Casas, in Chiapas, and Lake Pátzcuaro in Michoacán.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition