It's a family affair.

 Emiliano, center, Delfina, and their youngest son, Gabino, in the courtyard of their family home in the Oaxaca Valley. 

Emiliano, center, Delfina, and their youngest son, Gabino, in the courtyard of their family home in the Oaxaca Valley. 

Many of the artisans I am honored to work with on collaborations for August Etta come from multi-generational families in skilled artistry. Emiliano and Delfina will celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary in November. They have passed down traditions in skilled weaving to their children, many whom continue in the family business today. These traditions, dating back to the 1920’s, are evident in their innovative designs and the sophistication in their work. The quality is unparalleled; every textile that comes off the loom is finished with pride to perfection.

The photos below of Emiliano demonstrate the first act in a multi-step process necessary to arrive at a finished weaving. It is called the hurdidor, La ténica hurdida in Spanish. I was amazed watching this process: 30 independent spools of cotton are strategically wrapped around bamboo poles and intricately looped to spin and feed the thread on the wooden frame Emiliano concurrently turns with one hand. There can be up to 72 spools of cotton at one time, which I find mind-bending and fascinating! Once the process is completed, there will be nearly 200meters of usable cotton ready for the next step in preparation before the thread ever touches the loom. 

Witnessing this laborious process in consideration of an end product causes one to take pause and reconsider the value placed on handmade goods. I hope this (very brief explanation of only one step in the process) will shed new light on your understanding of the incredible work that goes into a handwoven textile. The time, the sensitivity, and the love the Mendez family invests in their work is apparent in the finished product, and demonstrates their steadfast dedication to their generational traditions in weaving. It is a great honor for me to work with this brilliant family of artisans on collaborations for August Etta. Lots to love–off the loom and available online soon!