Wednesday, November 16, 2016

LXXXIII. Los Tapetes Grandes de Antonieta

Antonieta's Big Rugs

Antonieta, at ex-hacienda La Calera last month.
I first met Antonieta a month and a half ago when Doug, from my Spanish class, invited her to be our model at a photography club field trip to ex-hacienda La Calera.

I got to know 'Tonieta on the ride to the old hacienda. Doug had already told me some of her story. She sells rugstapetes—in the plaza of our little town. The rugs are made by her family. But her family lives 500 miles south of here in a little Zapotec Indian village in the state of Oaxaca.

So, for most of the year Tonieta lives here alone, away from husband, sons, and daughter, in order to be near the gringos to whom she hopes to sell her faraway family's rugs.

A couple of 4'X6' rugs
The tapetes are wool, hand-dyed and-woven rugs and hangings of many sizes—some barely more than a foot square. Tonieta can display these smaller pieces at her table just off the plaza, in the walkway where the fountain used to be (and when is the municipality going to replace it, as promised?). She is often set up next to our sweet, young and beautiful friend Aily, who is there to sell Alex's fine jewelry.

Almost all of the bigger rugs that Tonieta and her family have made are too heavy for her to move—twice a day—from the little house where she is staying to and from the plaza. As a consequence, she has sold none of these large and magnificent pieces all summer. Potential customers do not even know they exist since they are not on display.  

Antonieta's sales book
At the suggestion of my thoughtful wife, and with the enthusiastic approval of Tonieta, Doug and I took color photos of many of the large tapetes, some as big as 8'X15'. We printed pictures of a representative fifteen and fitted them into the transparent sleeves of a notebook, along with the size and price of each. She now keeps this book on her table in the plaza, along with her smaller rugs.

Tonieta was very appreciative, and we all hope this visual aid will boost her business. 

1 comment:

  1. It would be great if she had access to a wheeled cart like the bellmen use at hotels. She could drape them across the top brass bar, and lay or fold others where luggage is usually placed.