Contemporary and Traditional Native American Hand Made
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Samuel Bautista Lazo, Zapotec Weaver & Organic Farmer

Friday May 26, 2017 6:30 PM - Sunday May 28, 2017 5:00 PM

Meet Zapotec Weaver & Organic Farmer: Samuel Bautista Lazo

Lecture: Friday, May 26th 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Rug Sale: Saturday& Sunday, May 27th & 28th  – 10:00 am to 6:00 pm & Sunday

In his own words: My name is Samuel Bautista Lazo, I am a Zapotec weaver from Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico.  I am visiting California to share my family’s weaving heritage, the indigenous way of life and the belief system of the shamans of ancient Mexico known as Toltecayotl. I will explain to the audience my interpretation of the woven knowledge encoded in the symbols and patterns of Zapotec rugs.

I grew up herding goats and sheep in the foothills of Teotitlán del Valle. My parents taught me how to weave when I was high and strong enough to stand all day on the treadle loom; I have been weaving since the age of 12. I was also the first person in the family to get a bachelor’s degree. Given my weaving background producing rugs, I decided to study Industrial Engineering in Oaxaca City. In 2007, towards the end of my engineering degree I realized that the actual production and consumption system needs to change to reduce the impact of manufacturing on the planet. That realization, led me to pursue a PhD in Sustainable Manufacturing at the University of Liverpool in the UK. When I came back to Mexico, after living in the city and teaching at a regional Technological University I decided to go back to my roots and revive the rug making family business to preserve the tradition and to share with the world the ancient ways of sustainable production that has allowed the Zapotec culture to live harmoniously on this planet for millennia.

I would be talking about Zapotec history and the role they played in the cradle of civilization. My entire village, Teotitlán del Valle, has specialized in weaving. About 80% of the working population dedicate themselves to weaving or a related activity. I will describe the evolution of our millenary weaving tradition which can be traced back in time to Zapotec art and vestiges found in archaeological sites. For example, when the Aztecs imposed tributes to the villages they ruled over, they ordered Teotitlán to weave 800 loads of clothes dyed with cochineal (a bug that grows on a cactus). When the Spanish conquistadores arrived, they learnt about the skill of weavers from Teotitlán and went there to take their looms and wool to turn it into useful items of clothing. I will be at gathering tribes sharing the current rug making process that my family uses to create beautiful and colorful rugs and small textile items.

I believe that like growing your own food weaving is an essential skill for living in this planet; so in that light I will demonstrate basic weaving and dyeing techniques at the event. I will demonstrate wool spinning, dyeing with natural dyes and discuss weaving on the treadle loom. I would also talk about the indigenous way of life and community organization in my village; I will explaining how the land management system works and how traditions and customs have endured and are evolving to provide for the needs of the village.

Finally I will talk about the meaning and patterns that are woven into traditional Zapotec rugs, this will allow me to explain the key concepts of the “Toltecayotl”, the wisdom of the ancient shamans of Mexico.

Click here to see the short video of Samuel and his family.


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