Artist Profiles

Artist:

Moises Martinez Velasco

Region:

Western Hemisphere

Country:

Mexico

Media/General:

Textiles

Medium of Work:

Natural-dyed silk shawls, scarves and huipiles

Year(s) Attended:

Santa Fe: 2014, 2016, 2018

About:

Oaxaca: It’s a setting renowned for its picture-postcard beauty and unique cuisine. Native to its lush landscape is a plant that flourishes along the Pacific coastline but also inland, and from which comes that most hypnotic, potently dark blue of all: indigo. For many years, Velasco has incorporated both indigo and crimson—which derives from cochineal, made from the tiny dactylopius coccus mite that feeds on the nopal cactus—as natural dyes for his silk textiles, which are unparalleled for their depth of color and dazzling patterns.

In San Pedro Cajonos, tucked in Mexico’s lofty Sierra Norte region, village artists raise their own silk worms, both gathered from the wild or cultivated. In fact, it’s an area so renowned for silk production, that it’s been dubbed by some as “the silk village.” Velasco uses a backstrap loom to make not only the rebozos, long rectangular textiles used for a range of purposes, for which he first gained acclaim, but also for scarves, shirts, and even jewelry. Raw silk can only be harvested twice annually, with an estimated 20,000 silkworms required to yield less than half a dozen rebozos.

Velasco got his start as a weaver at 14 years old, when he began crafting the rebozos, which can be used as baby slings, shawls, or for a number of other purposes. Because of his fine technique and attention to detail, Velasco quickly gained popularity, and the young artist soon expanded his range of products to include bags and other accessories—now, Velasco offers a broad range of vibrant, truly unique items.