Coming Home to Teotitlan del Valle

mexicoMost winters, Sandra and Wence travel to Wence’s home village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca to spend time with family and enjoy an annual art retreat, where they source and dye wool alongside Wence’s father Cosme. “It’s such a beautiful time,” says Sandra. “ We collect wool that is hand-spun by some of our favorite people, and then dye it using local botanicals.”
One of Sandra and Wence’s favorite colors varies from soft yellow to deep, rich gold, is created with a unique species of lichen. “Small tufts of lichen grow on rocks high on the mountain where we built our house,” explains Sandra. “Wence’s dad has been collecting lichen from his special spots for decades. It takes a huge amount of small tufts to dye a few skeins of wool. We never bleach our yarns first so the natural variations of tone in the original hand-spun remains in the final color.”

Wence also prizes certain types of un-dyed, hand-spun wool in varying shades of cream, tan, brown and grey. “These shades are getting harder and harder to find,” he says, “but they have a quality that is undeniable. Incorporating this material in our work feels soothing to us and honors the ancient process and its basic source, the people and the
sheep themselves.”
Their days are full of work, from traveling to the mountains in search of wool, to parceling out the colors and drawings for each new project, to warping their growing collection of looms in their studio on Mount Picacho.. But evenings are a time to rest. “At night, the stars take priority over most everything here,” says Sandra.