When Camelia Ramos’ father passed away, he told her, “I’m proud to leave you knowing I’ve taught you my craft, but now you have a commitment to not let this artistry die.” Camelia took on this commitment seriously and has been working alongside her husband in El Xoxopastli, their artisanal workshop to preserve the artistry of traditional rebozo making. In their workshop, rebozos are not mass-produced or machine-made.
“I’m giving you my life made in a rebozo,” she proudly says. "My life hangs by a thread, and each thread carries my essence. Just like blood runs through my veins, so does thread. Because this is the wonder of being able to give you part of my being and my soul, captured in a rebozo."
Each rebozo is carefully made by hand and is one-of-a-kind! This garment is made with
top quality, 100% cotton and silk yarn. The process to make a loom shawl is long and
laborious. It takes an average of 3 months to craft each designs.
The rebozo is the coming together of various cultures in México. Originating
communities in México had pre-Hispanic loom pedals which were used to create
traditional clothing pieces like the quexquemitl, huipiles, and other similar styles. The
Spanish influence added fringes and the use of new textile patterns.
Camelia Ramos and her husband José Mancio currently live and work in Malinalco to
preserve traditional rebozo techniques. Malinalco is one of México’s most important
weaving centers for elaborate and elegant rebozos. The rebozos that are born in El
Xoxopastli are unique in their fine work for their intricate endings called flecos, puntas, or rapacejos. Camelia and José use ancient designs and only weave on pre-Hispanic back strap looms. The process of weaving begins with the use of raw cotton that is naturally dyed with materials like the grana cochinilla, añil, oxidized metals, pecan shells, cempasúchil flowers, and powders like turmeric. Their art has been carried for five generations and many of their rebozos are done with a dying technique called ikat
where the patterns of the rebozo are colored before they are woven.
Camelia believes that nature gives you everything to take care of yourself and your
Camelia Ramos Zamora was born on September 17, 1969, originally from Tenancingo,
but as she claims, she was reborn in Malinalco, State of Mexico. She is now the fifth
generation of backstrap loom weavers. From a young age she was attracted to shawls,
not knowing that her own father had been a shawl craftsman since he was 13 years old
but had abandoned it due to his economic situation to become a bricklayer. Enthusiastic about this art, she asked her father, the master craftsman Isaac Ramos, to teach her the artistry of rebozo making.
At first, Don Isaac was hesitant to teach her because traditionally the art of rebozo
making was a man’s job and the woman would focus on refining the rebozo ends by
twisting, braiding, and tying the ends. It wasn’t until Camelia’s husband, José Mancio,
had a conversation with her father about also learning the art of rebozo making that her
father showed up the next day to pass on his knowledge of rebozo backstrap loom
weaving under a training of more than two years.
Since 1992, Camelia Ramos has overcome gender stigmas by inheriting the knowledge
and work that was considered typical of men in her state. Her work meant the rescue of
the making of the shawl on a backstrap loom, the use of the ikat technique with natural
dyes, as well as the ancient rapacejo, following what she learned from her father. Then
he decided to go one step forward: she innovated in the design of garments and
accessories made with rebozos to transform into blouses or the traditional quexquemitl.
Today, Camelia and her husband José lead El Xoxopastli, an artisanal workshop that
makes textile canvas on pedal and backstrap looms to keep the traditional rebozo
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