Woven Lives: Contemporary Textiles from Ancient Oaxacan Traditions examines how traditional art and design play an active role in the cultural sustainability of the Zapotec communities in Oaxaca. This documentary, which traces the development of the weaving process from the first people in the valley to the present day, uniquely blends the perspectives of art, design, business, history, ethnic studies and cultural anthropology. While the textiles are the centerpiece of the film, it highlights the life around the production that creates a sense of connection to the culture, the community, the past and the future.
The weaver’s work is filled with color and textures from dyes and yarns. The meditative movement of the spinning wheel and swift work of the weaver’s expert hands show a rhythm of motion at the loom that has been going on without interruption for centuries. The workroom is filled with the clack of the looms, the noise of the chickens in the yard, and the voices of the weavers as they speak with pride of their work. Photos can capture an instant. Written words can describe the scene and pass on tremendous amounts of information, but only through movement, color and sound can one really communicate the experience of the process, their connection to their culture and the beauty of their extraordinary textiles.