Day 9, in which there is a lot of thread(s)

Today is the Hal­loween for most of you all. Here in Mex­i­co it is the day before Muer­tos. There’s lots of get­ting ready and clean­ing and arrang­ing going on.

We were out and about doing tourista things this morn­ing. Our des­ti­na­tion was Teoti­t­lan de Valle, home to the most famous of the Zapotec weavers.

We start­ed in the show room of a fam­i­ly that has long ties back to Jane’s fam­i­ly in the San Joaquin val­ley. This is pret­ty typ­i­cal for a weaver’s show room.

rug show room
rug show room

Our sec­ond stop was at Isaac Vasquez Gar­ci­a’s. He is the best known of the weavers out­side of Mexico.
The loom are hand­made and accord­ing to my friend Demetrio last about 20 years under hard use.

a loom at isaac's
a loom at isaac’s

Issac demon­strat­ed all of the steps int he process of mak­ing a Zapotec rug. here he is hold­ing a bowl of grana. Grana is the dried form of the cochineal bug that is used to pro­duce the red dyes.

isaac with a bowl of grana
isaac with a bowl of grana

Much of Isaac Vas­querz’s work is fig­u­ra­tive rather than pat­terned. Here is shows us how he works a design in small sec­tions across the loom.

isaac weaving a design
isaac weav­ing a design 

Every year I go into Teoti­t­lan chant­i­ng “I don’t need anoth­er rug. I don’t need anoth­er rug.” Um, yeah, right, like that works. This love­ly gold deer is com­ing home with us.

isaac holding the deer rug
isaac hold­ing the deer rug

After the weav­ing demo but before lunch we went to see Vivian and her daugh­ter-in-laws make can­dles. These giant beeswax can­dles are dec­o­rat­ed with flow­ers, fruits, birds, and angels, all made out of sheets of beeswax. tra­di­tion­al­ly these can­dles are used in betrothal cer­e­monies. The groom’s fam­i­ly takes the can­dles, bread, and fruit to the house of the bride’s fam­i­ly. The par­ty starts at 6AM and lasts all day.

vivian and jane with a candle
vivian and jane with a candle

For lunch we returned to Isaac Vasquez’s house to eat tamales. We arrived as anoth­er group was fin­ish­ing watch­ing the demo. Lunch time means that the house­holds sons were around. Pick­ing oranges from the trees in the court­yard is a good way to impress the girls.

orange tree
orange tree

Before head­ing back in to town via the scenic route we stopped to walk through the ceme­tery near the church. Fam­i­lies have been spend­ing the last day or two dec­o­rat­ing the graves in prepa­ra­tion for the vigils.

graves int eh cemetary in teotitlan
graves in the ceme­tery in teotitlan

Now it’s 7:30 (or so) in the evening on Oct 31st. In a lit­tle while we’ll go to vis­it friends, to eat a lit­tle and have a drink. Then back to the house to nap until 1:30 AM when we’ll leave for Atzom­pa and all night vig­il in the ceme­tery there. There will be anoth­er vig­il on the night of the 1st/2nd in the ceme­tery here in the city.

This is the altar that we (all) have built here in the Casa in hon­or of Thorny Robi­son and all of the oth­ers that we miss.

altar at casa Colonial
altar at casa Colonial

About the Author

Lara Harriger