<b>Update (August, 2019)</b><br><br>We have been working with you for some time now, since 2017, and this has allowed us to transform our work roles. You help artisans grow in an independent way. Of the many benefits, the most significant is the ability to give a stable education to our two children, who study at elementary and high school. <br><br>We have worked on the backstrap loom for some years and this fills us with great satisfaction, since we are preserving this beautiful art of our parents, who have won honorable mentions and prizes in popular art competitions in the state. <br><br>But the most rewarding source of satisfaction is in providing employment for people who really need it. Such is the case of Lucia, who helps us weave. Her son is deaf and depends economically on her and her income with us. She is great friend whom we consider one of the family and helping her gives us great satisfaction. <br><br>We work to increase sales and help more talented people in the far corners of our communities. <br><br>We're proud to have received the National Labor Prize 2017 awarded by the STPS, Honorable Mention in the FOFA Contest 2018, and Honorable Mentions in the Benito Juarez State Prize in 2015 and 2016, as well as a talk and promotion of textile art in the Textile Museum of Oaxaca. <br><br>We know that there is still much work to do. Preserving a tradition requires a great commitment and responsibility. We love to work at it and perfect it. We know that the road entails its trials, but those teach us a lot, to grow and to be stronger and humble.<br><br><b>Original Artisan Story</b><br><br>I'm Nelson Hernandez. Like other textile artisans in my hometown in the Oaxaca Valley, I weave on the backstrap loom. My mother began teaching me when I was only six, and most women here weave to honor our Zapotec ancestors in the region. <br><br>Very few men weave, although this has been my family's source of income and helped me attend the university. While there, I met Wendhy Salones, who became my wife. We both share a love for architecture. When we got married, we knew life wouldn't be easy, primarily because we had to choose between working as professionals or dedicating our time to my handloomed textiles. <br><br>We eventually decided to continue our ancestral tradition. I weave the fabrics and taught Wendhy the technique. She transforms the material, sewing it into handbags, home decor and fashion accessories. She adds the clasps and snaps, and does the finishing work. She also focuses on selling our work. <br><br>We've formed a wonderful team, and work with brothers and sisters, in-laws, some elderly people in our community, and other artisans here who had no source of extra income. We are also teaching our daughter Ixhel Itamar, born in 2004, and our son Fernando Daniel, born in 2007. We want them to value our cultural roots and to carry on this important activity.<br><br>When we first started out, we looked for places to sell our work and even the smallest sale excites us, because it lets us bring food to our family. <br><br>Today, we focus our effort and dedication to researching new fibers, dyes and tools that improve our weavings. We work hard to create quality designs and take care to see that the materials and accessories are the best. <br><br>In addition to the backstrap looms, we work on a floor loom with a reed comb and create images such as the feather dancer, birds, flowers and geometric motifs. We like to work in 100 percent cotton and our designs are both traditional and innovative. <br><br>Our inspiration comes from our beautiful family and from everything around us. But it comes mainly from God who has given us talent and harmony. <br><br>Wendhy and I are sociable and dedicated. We dream of being able to contribute to our community's development. We want to teach our young people and see that they have the necessary materials and tools, and to perpetuate the art of the backstrap loom, which has been lost in many homes here. <br><br>We hope that you like our work and feel the same excitement that we feel when creating our designs. We hope we are able to convey a bit of our Zapotec culture and our love for weaving.
In the Andes, the Land of the Four Corners, mountains are sacred. So is culture. The Nazca lines, the Wari glyphs, the Quipu knots and the complex multi-colored textiles of the Incas are all recorded and live on the work of contemporary Peruvian artisans.