Carlos Amador Lopez Bringas is a fourth generation rebozo maker from Tenancingo, Mexico. A rebozo is a long, flat, woven garment like a shawl, primarily worn by women in Mexico to protect themselves from the sun, to keep warm, or as a fashion accessory. Frida Kahlo, who embraced traditional Mexican garb as a statement of solidarity with the nation’s indigenous communities, was often photographed in a rebozo, and she sometimes painted herself wearing rebozo as seen in her 1931 double portrait with her husband, “Frida y Diego Rivera.”
Carlos’s father taught him to make rebozos at the age of ten, and a little over a decade later Carlos founded Rebozo Mexiquense Academy to preserve the craft and provide jobs to young people in his community. For his efforts, Carlos was honored with the State Youth Award for Popular Art in 2020. At the Academy, Carlos and his students perpetuate historical designs inspired by the Mexica people that reference Aztec gods like the feathered serpent, Quetzalcóatl and Tlaloc, god of the rain, and other legendary Mexica figures like the elite Eagle Warriors. Cloth is woven from cotton and silk, and colored with aniline dyes and natural materials such as nutshells, avocado leaves, cochineal, and paprika. Colors range from subtle charcoal blacks and grays to brilliant scarlets and sunny yellows. Additionally, the Academy produces bags made from rebozo and vegan nopal leather.
Carlos says, “making this handicraft represents [the] culture, history, and beauty of Mexico.” His dedication to preservation goes beyond simply producing and sharing the techniques of creating rebozo. The Lopez family still has the tools his great grandfather used in 1908.