Benita Martinez Sosa

Traditional Zapotec weaving

About the Artist

I started learning when I was 8 years old and by the time I was 12 I already knew how to weave. I was taught by my parents and grandparents in my hometown called Teotitlán del Valle, in Oaxaca. This tradition has always been a family tradition and is very well known in our towns. This cultural tradition is practiced by all the members of my family, from my siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, uncles and extended family.

The cultural significance is very important because it is not only the making of the material product, which is the weaving, but it involves the participation of the whole family. While one works on the carding of the wool, others make the yarn or develop the art of creating the colors from natural products. We use plants to dye our wool and also grana cochinilla, an insect that grows on the nopal cactus to obtain red colors, as well as other wild plants. We use a wide variety of wild plants to obtain the desired colors. Although it is family work, each person creates his or her own design that is highlighted in the final product.

This artistic tradition is more than an art in the lives of my family and my ancestors, it is our way of expressing our history, our creativity, and our way of living together as a family and in the community. Of course, the products can be sold, because it is a way to provide support for my family, but just as important is the experience of making a sarape with my daughters, sharing time with them and teaching them the art so we don’t lose it.




Traditional Zapotec weaving


Handmade crafts and visual arts for sale, Workshops

Program Participant

Apprenticeship Recipient, Living Cultures Grant Recipient

Offerings Location

In-person services






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