Master Weaver María Florinda Pérez Mendoza
María Florinda is an artist. She began weaving at the age of 10 in order to help with the family's income. She did not attend school because her family could not afford to send her for the cost of both time and money. She was chosen to participate in Quetzalli Artesanias as the weaver of rebozo shawls because of her impeccable skill and beautiful designs. She prefers to create rebozos because she enjoys working with both the double thickness of thread and the width of the weaving.
Because a backstrap loom weaver must be able to evenly pack down the weft threads by pulling the beater towards herself with both arms, the width of any weaving made on a back strap loom is limited to the width of a rebozo or wide shawl. María Florinda does make wider pieces such as bedspreads but these are individual weavings that are then sewn together. It is a strenuous business weaving with double threads of cotton at such a width; most weavers will not make rebozos, preferring to work with smoother threads such as silk or single strands of fine cotton.
With the exception of indigo and cochineal she gathers local plants such as sacatinta, campeche, chilca and avocado to dye the threads and uses the trunk of the banana plant as the mordant or fixative. She mentally creates her designs as she winds the warp threads on the urdidor or warping board, deciding where to place the jaspe panels as well as the other design elements and colors. Her rebozos are constructed of plant-dyed cotton thread (black and red are the only synthetic dyes), and measure approximately 26” x 80”. It requires a full day to wind the warp threads and set up the loom and another two days to weave a rebozo shawl.