Alberto Ruíz García from Mexico
is the artisan in the spotlight this week
"Hola! My name is Alberto Ruíz García and I'm from a town in Oaxaca, Mexico dedicated to weaving. I am the fourth generation of my family to practice this craft. I remember as a child I watched my father working on the loom while my mother and grandmother carded and dyed the wool so that the men could weave it.
"First the sheep are sheared, and this is done twice a year. We pick out any twigs and burrs and wash the fleece. Then we card it with two large wire brushes so that it is soft and can be worked on a wooden spinning wheel. We wash it with amole, a plant that grows in the sierra. We then spin it and dye it with tints from the cochineal insect, pomegranate peel, bark from the huajal tree that thrives here, as well as oak and pecan bark. Stones, dried flowers, almost all the rocks and flowers here yield natural colors.
"To achieve the dyes, we soak the materials in a big pot of water and let it sit at least a month. Then we set it on the fire to boil. We immerse the hanks of yarn for half an hour and then we take them out to dry.
"The long, narrow bobbins we use are made of reed, and we wind the yarn on them to weave it. We first warp the handloom, and then we begin to weave the rug."