Tito Mendoza-Ruiz’s Statement
I was born in Teotitlán del Valle in 1963, one of seven brothers and sisters. My father taught us the art of the weaving at an early age. I have worked in different work shops of well known weavers, where I learned to weave more intricate traditional rugs, designs from Mexican codices, and reproductions of paintings by famous Mexican artists. I also learned to weave with cotton and silk, to incorporate metallic threads, dye with natural pigments as well as aniline dyes, and to weave geometric designs inspired by antique Saltillo serapes. Now I work independently, weaving and selling my own traditional-themed rugs and wall pieces which incorporate pre-Hispanic geometric design elements and figurative designs. I also represent my village and country internationally by participating in events such as the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the World Art Market at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, Canada. My work has also been featured in the film, Woven Lives: Contemporary Textiles from Ancient Oaxaca Traditions. At the VI International Biennial of Contemporary Textile Art in the AIR large format category, at the Diego Rivera Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City.
Tito Mendoza-Ruiz’s Biography
Tito Mendoza, heir to the ancient tradition of pedal loom weaving, began his craft at a very young age. Like the children in his village, Tito began to gray as he calls it, which is more than a lesson, it is a form of punishment for young boys when they would misbehave and have to make yarn out of leftover threads.
As Tito grew in his craft, creating traditional designs and using wool exclusively was very important during his training as a weaver. After taking various workshops and classes on technique, he became interested in other materials and creating his own designs, while always keeping in mind the pre-hispanic designs that represent his Zapotec culture.
Tito weaves with a patience and dedication that few weavers possess. The complexity of his designs and materials he uses create the perfect combination for his magnificent works of art. He begins to visualize each piece at least one month in advance from the moment when an idea hits him out of nowhere — while he is on a walk, reading a book, or simply awakens to a new day.
He selects a color scheme and yarn without considering all of the hours that his new project will present. He never weaves one piece at a time, from beginning to end. There is always another project in the loom to distract and destress him when something is not going as planned. Therefore he always finishes two pieces at a time – one that takes much time and patience, and another that is less grand and with fewer details.
For Tito, it is important that his pieces end up in the hands of someone who knows and appreciates the value (and not just monetary) of his pieces and that they know that each one-of-a-kind piece represents sacrifice and an aspect of his life.