SchoolArts Room

Overjoyed by Oaxaca: Visiting Master Weaver Nelson Mendoza

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Aug 8, 2015

Another regular stop on our SchoolArts/CRIZMAC Folk Art Celebration in Oaxaca is to visit master weaver Nelson Mendoza in the famous Mexican weaving village of Teotitlan de Valle.

Photo by Mike Grassinger
Nelson, named after Nelson Rockefeller, has a beautiful, open air workshop well set up for demonstrations. Here they dye their own wool, using only natural colors (and a knowledge of chemistry).



Here Nelson is showing us the cochineal bug that grows on cactus, under the white powdery substance you see on the right. The bugs are removed from the cactus and dried (seen in the bowl). When they are crushed, they create a brilliant red dye.



Nelson showed us the differences between cochineal dyeing and dyeing with indigo, also a natural substance.




The final color of cochineal can be changed by what is added to it, like lime juice, soda ash, or other ingredients.




Other materials used for natural dyes.













All the bowls hold natural materials used for dyeing.



Nelson cards and spins the yarn used for weaving.



Vats used for dyeing.



A huge loom that allows the weaving of very large rugs.




Another view of the loom. Nelson has multiple looms but this is the largest one.


Stevie and I are currently planning next year's travel opportunities. Learn how you can join us at