Traditionally, in Teotitlan, women were the spinners and dyers of wool and men wove. Today all aspects of the process are shared between men and women.
Weaver Eulalia works completely in the most traditional of weaving processes, creating beautifully subtle rugs with all-natural dyes or from un-dyed yarn. She buys raw wool in the marketplace of nearby Tlacolula, and in time-honored tradition washes it in the river to dry in the sun. The carding process involves pulling a handful of wool back and forth between metal-toothed carding paddles (resembling dog brushes as much as anything else).
After carding, each fluff of yarn is clean and burr-free; from years of practice, she begins hand-pulling the wool fiber into roving before winding it on the bobbin of an old-fashioned spinning wheel. The old one, inherited from her parents, leans against the wall; she bought a new one recently with one of several En Vía microfinancing loans. Once clean and wound in skeins, the yarn is either dyed with natural dyes from plants, flowers and nuts, or combined with other un-dyed yarn of black, white and brown.
Pomegranate surprisingly does not create any shade of red. The fruit and seeds of the fruit are not used. The peel is used, either dried or fresh, and creates varying shades of yellow. The process involves simmering the peels in hot water until all of the dyeing substance is extracted. Yarn is then dipped into the extraction and allowed to absorb the dye.
Natural dyeing is an ancient art and each weaver has special recipes and processes they use when dyeing yarn. We are proud that so many of the items our weavers make are true to the cultural and artisan heritage of Teotitlan del Valle.