The evocatively named artist group Mexican Dreamweavers is a thriving cooperative located in the historically rich region of Oaxaca, Mexico. From elaborately patterned blouses to gently hued pillowcases and table coverings, Mexican Dreamweaver has long been committed to using natural dyes of cochineal, indigo and tixinda (sea snail purple), as well as handspun regional cotton yarns.
Here, items are carefully woven on backstrap looms. These airy cotton garments, woven meticulously with traditional patterns, sometimes include elaborate detail. One deep blue blusa, or traditional blouse, for instance, features a collar whose centerpiece is an embroidered Virgen of Guadalupe, a saint whose importance to this region cannot be overstated. For the home, the ingenious artisans of Mexican Dreamweaver create an array of colorful and useful items, from cushions to table runners to throws.
Artisans in this part of Mexico often grow their own white and brown “coyuchi” cotton, which they manipulate by hand using a drop spindle, then dye with various natural dyes in colors of blue, black, green, and the vibrant red of the cochineal beetle; most importantly, perhaps, is a sacred purple dye sustainably sourced from the precious milk of an endangered sea snail, Purpura pansa. Because the sea snail is currently endangered because of overharvesting, this gorgeous purple color is at risk of disappearing in our lifetime.