Twenty Thousand Years Ago

Here in Oaxaca I’ve been reading Women’s Work , by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. In it she talks about the evidence that suggests that women first started weaving some 20,000 years ago during the upper palaeolithic age in the Dordogne river valley in France. The author notes that until the industrial revolution changed the task of cloth making, we no longer engage in the day-to-day activity of making textiles.

That is, unless you’re in the Oaxaca valley were whole families, no, entire villages, are involved in the making cloth. This, I learned on a recent visit to Santa Ana de Valle where I visited a weaver and dyer, a reed and heddle maker, a carpenter crafting looms, and a family cultivating the cochineal bug used to make a beautiful red dye.

I don’t know how these crafters and growers view their lives, but I felt a sense of connectedness to textile makers and traditions that emerged some 20,000 years ago when humankind began to create fabric from fiber.

In the Oaxaca valley, the tradition of creating cloth by hand lives on in the lives of the people who make them and indeed the textiles themselves.

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Schacht Spindle

Schacht Spindle Company, Inc. was founded during the back-to-earth movement of the late 1960s and its accompanying craft resurgence. Their first loom was a simple tapestry loom, a version which they still make today. Over nearly 50 years, Schacht has developed a broad range of high-quality hand weaving and hand spinning tools, including their popular Cricket Loom and Ladybug Spinning wheel. Schacht’s mission is to create beautiful and well-designed products that enhance customers’ weaving and spinning experience through innovative problem solving, creative ideas, skilled woodworking and craftsmanship, and friendly, knowledgeable customer service. Schacht’s family-owned business is located in Boulder, Colorado.