THE CHÁVEZ FAMILY (Santo Tomás Jalieza)

The Chávez family has been involved in the craft of belt weaving since 1915.  They occupy three households in the pueblo of Santo Tomás Jalieza — all children of Cirila but the product of several marriages.


Cirila Chávez Luis and Patricia Hernández Chávez

Cirila lives and works with her daughter Patricia Hernandez Chávez using the back strap looms that are prominently suspended in their home. They create cotton belts (narrow and wide), place mats, table runners, napkins, and bags.  Mother and daughter incorporate approximately twenty designs in their weaving. These are not recorded on paper, but rather passed down in the oral tradition from one generation to the next. They consist of both traditional pueblo designs (such as dancers, animals, geometric patterns of the ruins of Mitla) and several that are unique to this family, such as an earthen jar accompanied by a pomegranate, and a carnation with stars.



Agustín Chávez and his wife Asela Valentín Mendoza

Agustín Chávez, his wife Asela Valentín Mendoza and their children create an unusually diverse range of items woven in cotton on a backstrap loom.  In addition to the traditional belts, bags, placemats and napkins of their pueblo, they make pillow covers and bathmats.  They have also begun to produce dresses and pants, many of which are decorated with narrow pieces of traditional weaving, the width of the narrowest belts.  Agustín and Asela weave approximately twenty designs, some universal in the pueblo and others unique to them, e.g., snails with shells and flowers. Agustín is the exception to the rule in Santo Tomás Jalieza in which women are generally the weavers of belts on backstrap looms.


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