The Mixteca Weavers project is a microenterprise
project of El Circulo de Mujeres in the
Sierra Madre mountains in the village of Miramar, Oaxaca, Mexico. The Mixteca Weavers began as a group of older, highly skilled weavers who were supported by a capitalization loan from The Circle of Women in 2003.
Unable to survive growing coffee for export, the Mixteca women have maintained a tradition of weaving shawls or rebozos on back strap looms. The women purchase locally produced wool or raise their own sheep and card and hand spin the wool. When the wool is ready to
be woven, the weaving is
done on the looms, which are hung from trees near their homes.
In addition to wool, the women use cotton for their weavings.
The cotton is grown in Pueblo and hand dyed in Miramar, Oaxaca. The dyeing process uses locally grown plants and cochineal, a bug which lives on the leaves of the cactus and produces beautiful reds in many different hues.
The women weave to feed their families, to maintain their culture
and to be part of an artisan community. A shawl or rebozo, depicting ancient
Mixteca designs, takes about a month to weave.
The sale of one rebozo/shawl feeds a family of three
children for a month.
Purchase a shawl online
The women use both cotton and wool yarn to weave rebozos which are merchandized as throws and shawls. During the five years of the program the women have repaid their loan, learned to do organic dyeing, improved the designs and quality of their weavings, and learned the business of production, inventory management, and sales to local, regional and international markets.
The Circle of Women partners with the weavers, selling the weavings throughout the U.S. and investing in the Miramar women's capacity and infrastructure. At the present time The Circle of Women is helping the weavers to expand their markets, primarily in Oaxaca to make the project sustainable. The women have become very adept at selling and demonstrating their weaving to craft visitors and local people and have become highly recognized for their textiles..
THE MIXTECA WEAVERS HAVE BEEN INVITED TO MAKE AN EXHIBITION AT MUSEO DE TEXTIL OAXACA !
November 14, 2009 - mid January 2010.
In addition to their beautiful work, there will be demonstrations of backstrap weaving and portraits of the weavers by photographer Tom Feher (Tom is working on an album of the story of the weavers to be published in 2010). There will also be dolls and writings from the literacy program in which eight women took part.