Elida Lucino Merino, San Pedro Amuzgos, Oaxaca

Elida Lucina Merino, San Pedro Amuzgos, Oaxaca

Elida Lucina Merino is from San Pedro Amuzgos, Oaxaca, a village of weavers. She began to learn the basics about the backstrap loom at the age of nine. First, she began to learn how to make the warp and attach it to the loom. Then at 12 or 13, she made her first pure white cotton piece with figures called memelitas. By the time she was 18, she was making traditional huipiles with purple fretwork.

Elida formed a group of friends called La Tejedora Antigua, which, over time, has become a united, hard-working group of artisans who are continuously working on new designs, using natural dyes, conscious of keeping their Amuzgos culture and tradition alive at the same time.

The backstrap loom is deceptively simple. It consists of sticks, rope, and a strap that is worn around the weaver’s waist. This strap is how the backstrap loom received its name. This simple technology means that almost anyone can own a backstrap loom and that the loom can be set up almost anywhere. This mobility allows the weaver to work indoors or outside, at a neighbor’s house or in the marketplace, while keeping watch over the children. And the backstrap loom can be adjusted to fit any weaver, from the child learning to weave to an adult master weaver.

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