FERMINA RUÍZ GUTIÉRREZ (Teotitlán del Valle)

Fermina, who won honorable mention in textiles in FOFA’s 2008 young artists’ competition, tries to improve her work day by day. She finds the advice of her husband, Horacio Mendoza, who also designed the piece she entered, “Jaguar Playing Ball Game,” extremely helpful. In ancient Zapotec culture, the jaguar represented power; for this reason it was incorporated in the masks worn in battle by outstanding warriors. At the ball game, human sacrifice of blood and death was presented. These forms are depicted in wool in colors produced with natural dyes: the red of cochinea (derived from insects living in cacti), representing the new dawn; the yellow of moss, standing for knowledge and power; and the black of the pomegranate symbolizing darkness.


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The PBS Peabody award winning documentary series "Craft in America" filmed portions of two excellent programs in Oaxaca, one -- "Neighbors" -- partially in collaboration with FOFA. These programs explore connections through craft between Mexico and the United States.

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Oaxacan Popular Arts in the New Millennium, Nurturing Young Artists

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