April 14th, 2016 Program Night – Ambrocio Gutierrez, Oaxacan Rug Weaver

Artisans in the village of Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico have been weaving rugs for literally centuries.  Our guild is very lucky to have as a member one of those weavers and we are very glad he is going to share his experiences with us for this program. Besides weaving, Ambrocio is also interested in the Zapotec language, which is his mother tongue.  It was this interest, which brought him to Austin, where he is a first year PhD student at the UT Department of Linguistics.

Ambrocio is from Teotitlán del Valle and learned to weave when he was 9-10 years old.  Weaving is the main economic activity in the community and most males, and nowadays females, start to learn at that age.  The loom used is a pedal loom, and the number of pairs of pedals depends on the width of the loom and size of rug one makes.  Young weavers usually start with small rugs about 23 by 15 inches.  As the weavers become older and gain experience, the size of the rug also increases. Ambrocio usually weaves rugs approximately 4 by 7 feet (amazing!).  When Ambrocio is weaving he enjoys combining colors and figures. Even though at times he has to adapt a pattern to a customer’s choice, he likes to create his own patterns or designs.

Our program nights run from 6:30-8:45 at NorthWest Recreation Center.