Weaving in Teotitlán de Valle dates back to at least 500BC. However the use of sheep wool and large pedal looms was only introduced in the 1500s by the Spanish. Today almost all Zapotec households in Teotitlán can be seen to have a loom inside, and a man peddling behind it.
Once they shear the sheep, the wool is washed, carded and spun into yarn. The yarn is tied into bunches in preparation for dyeing. The yarn is dyed using natural colours derived from plants and the cochineal insect. Different recipes can achieve a wide range of colours. The wool is then hung out to dry. This may take a while during rainy season.
The yarn is then fed though a spinning wheel onto a reel, ready for weaving.
Traditionally it is the men who operate the foot treadle loom, as it can be physically demanding work.
Traditional Zapotec designs are woven into the rugs.