Oaxaca Tales: Chavez Santiago Family Weavers & Galerie Fe y Lola

As part of the 10th International Shibori Symposium, we took a day-long tour of the area and visited  with the Chavez Santiago family in the local weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle. Federico (Fe) Chavez Sosa is a master weaver who has been weaving for generations, adapting traditional designs with his own color combinations and patterns. Son Omar spoke gave us an introduction in English, and then we were shown quite a big selection of rugs of all sizes.


Like many of the 2000 weavers in the area, he had been using aniline dyes in his spacious studio attached to his home. But since the processing of these dyes was in tandem with a home and living environment, he decided to return to natural dyes used by his ancestors, including his grandfather. Federico’s wife Dolores (Lola) also weaves, as do other family members, including son Omar, Janet and Eric.

Examples of natural dye colors derived from cochineal, indigo, marigold and more.

Pericon, a local variation of Marigold, is an excellent dye source.   

Looms are built locally, with carved wood ratchet and wheel (wow- contemporary looms elsewhere use metal for these critical parts) and take about a month to complete.

The family also operates Galeria Fe y Lola, a small, well displayed shop at 5 de Mayo 408, Centro, Oaxaca. It’s located behind a storefront with other shops, as is often found in Oaxaca. Well worth a visit as these are excellent works using natural dyes only.

  Federico shows us beautiful examples of rugs he and Delores have woven. Color is derived only from natural dyes or the natural wool color. Dolores tends to all the fringes, tucking them in, braiding them, and more.

Omar Chavez with his mother Dolores and sister Janet in their shop, Galerie Re y Lola in Oaxaca Centro.