Crispina Navarro Gómez, Ocotlán, Oaxaca

Crispina Navarro Gómez, Ocotlán, Oaxaca

In their unusually spacious and tranquil yard, replete with bursts of brilliant purple and pink bougainvilleas, Mariana Gómez Jiménez and her three grown daughters, Margarita, Crispina and Inés, sit side by side on the ground, each working at her own back strap loom tethered to a tree.

Margarita and Crispina Navarro Gómez, sisters from the small town of Santo Tomás Jalieza, Ocotlán, Oaxaca, are highly skilled weavers who still use the traditional back strap loom called a telar de cintura or telar de otate.

The technique of using a backstrap loom consists of securing an end of the loom to a tree or post and the other end to the waist of the weaver, maintaining the tension with the weight of the body. This is a pre-Hispanic technique that continues to be used without major changes over the centuries. The complexity of the work that can be created on this loom is limited only by the skill of the weaver, and the entire loom with the weaving in progress can be rolled up at any time and carried from place to place.

The women of the Navarro Gómez family produce an unusually large number of woven cotton items: traditional belts, bags, place mats, coasters, centro demesas (table liners) and napkins, wallets, change purses, belts with leather trim, eye glass cases, and pillows created with woven segments mounted in leather. Crispina’s specialty is remarkably fine woven bags (opera bags) and belts for which she has won many awards, including in 2007, a national award for her achievements as a weaver.

Benito Juárez 42

Santo Tomás Jalieza

Ocotlán, Oaxaca

951 528 1114