Meet Our Artisans

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we Are proud to partner with master Zapotec weavers from Teotitlán, Oaxaca.

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Marcela

Marcela’s work has been featured at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. She runs a workshop with her husband ManNuel.

“I started to weave when I was around 13 years old. It was my parents who taught me. I actually started to weave first, and then later, learned with my momhow to dye and cart the wool. Years back, that was the work of the women but now, the roles aren’t as defined.

“I hope people buying ILANO products know
 that they are buying something truly handmade.”

Factories have crept into everything these days, and this is what is devaluing our work. It lowers the prices and creates biases against handmade, artisanal work.”

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Vida Nueva Cooperative

Started in 1999, Vida Nueva represents 4 generations of women weavers working together in a worker owned, worker operated cooperative. the cooperative has launched many initiatives to better Teotitlán as a community such as providing garbage and recycling receptacles, building ecological stoves, gift baskets for single women on Mother’s day and a reforestation project. One member of the cooperative is Petrona, our featured member of Vida Nueva.

Petrona: “I started to weave when I was 8, weave on the loom that is. But from an even younger age I carted the wool, spun it, to turn it into yarn and then from there, we’d prep the spools. After, they’d teach us how to dye- we’d go out into the fields and my grandparents would teach us how to recognize the plants we’d use, which plants to pick, how to boil the yarn so it doesn’t lose it’s color, or wash out. Whatever was there on the hills around the village, we went to pick it and my grandparents used to say to us “record it firmly in your heads”...from this plant, you get this color, if you mix this with that, another color, etc. So it was really my grandparents that taught me, but my dad taught me more about the designs.
 
I want the people to know the work behind these textiles is extremely laborious. Sometimes, people don’t realize all that goes into this, all the sacrifice and well, they don’t value it. But

“we feel proud of of the work that we do.”

Seeing the colors, so beautiful, that come out of these plants, it excites me, even still!”