Marcos Antonio Bautista Vásquez is a 25-year-old weaver from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico. He is one of the talented individuals that MZ works with and he is going be joining us in the US in July for a few trade shows.
We asked him a few questions, in order to introduce him to our community, and offer another perspective of where our bags originate.
His answers have been translated from Spanish.
MZ: Where do you come from and what is it like?
Marcos: I come a town with Zapotec origin called Teotitlan del Valle, located in the central valley region of the state of Oaxaca. Teotitlan has roots in [the indigenous language] nahuatl, meaning “Land of the Gods,” and in Zapotec it means “At the foot of the hill.”
Teotitlan is about 80 square kilometers and has 5,562 inhabitants. It is important to say that of all those residents, 2,672 are of Zapotec origin and speak both Zapotec and Spanish, 290 do not speak Spanish, and the rest only speak Spanish, which indicates that Teotitlan del Valle is a community that still has a very strong indigenous presence.
MZ: What do you do?
Marcos: Right now I work in my workshop, dying, designing and weaving wool into artisan products.
My inspiration comes from images from the region in which I live. I love to weave patterns inspired by our traditional forms and the images of Oaxaca, of the Zapotec culture but sometimes I also take images from nature, such as birds, plants and animals.
This is my principle activity although there are other things I like to do, such as walk in the mountains, read books, practice sports and help my father at work on the farm.
MZ: What does your family do?
Marcos: My parents also dedicate themselves to weaving artisan products from wool, in fact they were the ones that taught me how to do this work. This art is a family tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation and this is why my family has come be to weaving for generations,
MZ: What are your hopes and dreams for you work and your life?
Marcos: A couple years ago I wrote a slogan for my workshop that says”Tapizando el Planete de Colores,” (which translates roughly to “spreading his art/work across the world.”) Today, I go on with this slogan in my mind, with the idea that tomorrow it can make it into reality and this way I can continue sharing my art with the world, and a little bit of what Oaxaca has to offer the world.
On the other hand, I also want to say that I had the opportunity to study in the University of the State of Oaxaca en the Technology Institute of Oaxaca and I graduated as an industrial engineer. Now I am awaiting my professional certificate and at the same time looking for work with a company with which I can use my degree.
Ever since I was young I always loved to run in the country, when I went with my father to care for the sheep, bulls, donkeys and horses. I remember well that during the rainy season when we planted seeds, we had to run to scare away the animals so that they did not eat the crops, and I think that this strengthened my lungs. Today I take this experience and strength to continue practicing running, but now as an athletic sport. I like to do it and I can say that I have won races in town, and I continue preparing day by day so that in the future I can run in the main marathons and athletic competitions in my country … and why not in other countries as well?
MZ: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Marcos: Just this verse which is worthwhile to read …
Have care for the things of the earth,
Do something, chop wood, work the land,
plant nopales, plant magueyes (types of cacti used for food and drink)
You have to drink, to eat, to wear clothes,
With that you will stand tall, you will be true.
With that you will walk,
With that they will speak of you, they will praise you,
With that you will know.