March 22, 2022 Artisans
In the Studio with: Luis Lazo
By Sara Berks
Today we're introducing you to one of our weaving partners, Luis Lazo. Sara met Luis on her first trip to Mexico and we’ve been working together ever since. Their co-creation process is core to MINNA, in how we approach artisan collaboration, growth, and partnership. We had the chance to sit down with Luis to talk to him about his work, process, and life with textiles. It's so important for us to honor the artistry and craftsmanship of the weavers we work with, and to highlight the design process beyond what happens in our studio in New York. Before we can even approach designing, we want to honor the ancestral traditions we’re lucky enough to work with.
The interview below has been transcribed from the video versions that are linked below. Shot by George Underwood. Editing & Translation by Carlos Ledesma.
My name is Luis Lazo, proud to be from Teotitlán de Valle, a Zapotec community. I’m a weaver, and I experiment with all types of fibers and techniques on a pedal loom. My specialty is the “waist” loom, something that’s rare here in Teotitlán, and to experiment with natural dyes.
I learned in the family shop with my parents, who were my teachers. After that, my interest was to explore a little more about techniques, quality and how to understand textiles as a whole, and the designs. I wasn’t aware of that side and to be a perfectionist until I met a teacher who helped me a lot to discover that side. And the magic phrase that transformed me was:
“You don’t need to learn more than what you already know, you need to ‘purify’ the technique you’ve already mastered.”
And I’m forever grateful to the person who helped me get there and understand that side of weaving.
Working with textiles is a way to express oneself. A language one has to translate as you’re working on it as a weaver. I already knew that side of weaving, so, when Sara arrived, the magic grew and we complemented each other. And I remembered my childhood, working on shapes I did as a kid like triangles and squares. I relate a lot to that side of being able to translate and her designs allow for that: to just do and feel free and translate to what it really is, with an important aspect which is understanding the measurements, scales and then translating them. And all of this is an education that I’ve learned and purified with my teachers. And today, I’m doing what I wanted to do and still want to do. And I’m always looking, every day, to translate something and carry the legacy because, to me, this is a legacy.
I met a teacher who helped me a lot. The quality, the texture a textile should have, but he also changed my life on a personal level, as a human being. And him sharing those lessons with me was invaluable. For example: to maintain quality of work. And he used to tell me: “don’t talk about your work, your work has to speak for you.” Teotitlán is a community of weavers but there are only a few who want to transcend, who want to carry the legacy of translating what a textile really is. To me, that’s a big responsibility.