RECEPTION: Thursday, July 6th, 5:00-9:00 PM
IN-STORE DEMO: Friday, July 7th, 11:00-5:00 PM & Saturday, July 8th from 11:00-5:00 PM
El Interior is proud to announce that Mexican Indigenous weaver Odilon Merino Morales will be in Austin at our store, in the Clarksville neighborhood, 1009 West Lynn Street, July 6th through the 8th.
Mr. Merino will demonstrate the ancient art of weaving on a pre-Hispanic style back strap loom for which the Amusgos weavers are famous. He will talk about his work as the Director of a cooperative of 84 Amusgos Weavers; some of the natural dyes used and the very special naturally colored brown and green cotton, which are a variety of wild cotton, being used in their textiles. Their work also includes using cotton threads dyed with the incredibly beautiful purple dye from the “Caracol” Snail dye. These are some of the finest indigenous textiles being hand woven anywhere on the planet right now. We will have shawls, huipiles (dresses and tops) and shirts worn by men. Morales and the Amusgos weaving cooperative are responsible for a “renaissance” in the highest quality and beautiful wearable one of a kind articles for adornment.
Odilon Morales was born into a small ethnic group called the Amusgos, living close to the Costa Chica, in southern Mexico in the state of Oaxaca and into the state of Guerrero. His village is San Pedro Amusgos, Oaxaca. Down the road there are some other fine weaving communities of the ethnic group, the Mixtec. We will also show a couple of short documentaries called Mixtec Weavers and Dyers. They were filmed on location and beautifully illustrate the village life of weaver and spinner, Margarita Avendano in Pinotepa don Luis and the work of her husband in the highly risky work and endangered tradition of dyeing with the Caracol purple dye. It is a form of milking the snails to produce the purple dye and does not harm them when done properly. Cotton has long been the luxurious indigenous fiber in the Meso American regions and long ago was reserved mainly for the elite. The cultivation of cotton remained in place among many rural villages, and the use of natural brown coyuche cotton, highly valued through out the region by the indigenous people is a testament to their appreciation of its warm and subtle coloring. Preparation for spinning of the shorter coyuche (natural brown) cotton fibers is a more difficult and time-consuming process than working with the longer staple cottons.
Weaving on the back strap loom has survived as an unbroken tradition through the centuries in this area. Early civilization dates back to 700 BC, with the ancient Zapotec culture establishing the first City State in Meso America at Monte Alban. Mixtec Indians are thought to have conquered the Monte Alban Zapotec culture and occupied the area around 900 AD. Archaeological finds indicate magnificent adornments worn by the elite, with beautifully painted codices providing valuable information about the different garments that prevailed in the region. It is also clear that women played a very important part in ancient Zapotec and Mixtec society, for they are shown as rulers and priestesses.
El Interior, is celebrating 35 years of business and has established and maintained working relationships with many of Mexico and Guatemala’s finest crafts people and their families through out our history. Please come by and meet Odilon Merino and see him weave. Support this incredible Amusgos art form.