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Backstrap Weaver

Born on April 23, 1968 to Ramon Vargas Suarez and Matiana Vargas of Santa Ana Tzacuala (Municipality of Acaxochitlan), Maria Estela Vargas Vargas has been dedicated to back-strap weaving since she was 14 years old. As per Nahuatl tradition, Estela was taught the fine weaving techniques by her mother Matiana. It takes an average of two years for a weaver to master these techniques, from learning how to set up the loom, to maintaining the tension for even lines.

In addition to weaving, Estela harvests and procures her own dyes from nature, as well as spins her own wool. She has taught her daughters and nieces to weave, and will continue teaching women in her family.  

Estela and her family create a number of different garments, all of which require dedication, patience. skill and time. The Quexquemetl is one of the most famous garments from the central Mexican region, and is a backstrap woven poncho.  The beautifully embroidered blouses are called Kamisha in Nahuatl, and the Nahuatl word for Rebozo is Payo.  Estela was recently invited to Pachuca, Hidalgo where her work was showcased on radio and television broadcast. She has also participated in many auditioned cultural festivals in Hidalgo and Mexico City.  

Estela says she is very proud to carry these traditions forward, and that she thanks God for her gift.

*Thank you to Alberich Vargas for helping me obtain information on Estela's biography, and natural dyes.

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