<b>Update (July, 2019)</b><br><br> ?I am very happy to work with NOVICA. I really like having a company that represents us as artisans, and, more than anything, that exalts the names of its artisans.<br><br> ?These years, NOVICA has allowed me to continue working fluidly. I have various channels of sales, but NOVICA has given us the opportunity to present our pieces at a more profound level. It has allowed us to share our pieces with more people, but more than anything it has taught us to increase our creativity and skill.<br><br> ?My sales with NOVICA represent about a fourth of my total income. Aside from that, it has given me the opportunity to reclaim this technique that I learned as a girl, which I am very fortunate to be preserving. For us, this is a blessing.<br><br> ?We have had good and bad times, including economic crises and everything in between, but this has not stopped us from continuing to work as a family. We are certain that, as a family, we have a responsibility to preserve and protect the traditions that our parents taught us.<br><br> ?We want to leave a touch of ourselves as a family in our work; we are sure that we have only just begun. We are growing every day. We experiment, play, and have fun with the colors that our environment gifts us with such generosity.?<br><br> ?I am very thankful for all of the members of NOVICA with whom I have collaborated. They are an alternative in order to be able to commercialize my handicrafts and they have impacted my family. Their advice has helped us grow and perfect what we already know, but now with a touch of perfection and the avant-garde.?<br><br> <b>Original Artisan Story</b><br><br> "I'm Angela Quinones Martinez, born in Oaxaca on June 1, 1971. I work mostly at weaving cotton tablecloths and bedspreads on a traditional Zapotec loom. My parents taught me. When I was a little girl, they wove cotton tablecloths and, when I grew older, I learned the art. <br><br> "Because of our economic situation, I was only able to finish primary school before starting to help them full time with their weavings. It was good practice, so I could learn to make tablecloths very well. Eventually, I began creating my own designs. <br><br> "I can't remember exactly when I started as an artisan. I feel like it's my family legacy and, since I wasn't able to continue my schooling, I decided to do what I already knew how to do. <br><br> "I'm sure my parents must have finished my first pieces for me, because I was just a child. I remember my first design was a small placemat in yellow and orange. I don't know what happened to it. Maybe it was sold. <br><br> "When I was 21, I got married. My husband comes from a family of artisans who weave traditional wool rugs, so we dedicate more time to making rugs. His name is Israel Ruiz Bazan, the head of the Ruiz Bazan family [Novica-featured artisans]. I left my own weavings aside and it wasn't until 2010 that I decided to start making cotton table linens, bedspreads and throws. <br><br> "I set up my own workshop where I create my own designs, which I've shown in a few artisan exhibits. My inspiration comes from everything I see in nature and what I am able to achieve by manipulating color combinations. <br><br> "I enjoy visiting my parents and going for walks in the countryside. <br><br> "At one time of my life, I went through some tough times. In the village where I live, we women are expected to look after the house and children, cook and clean, and work in the corn fields. We didn't have enough money, so my husband had to work all day and I really didn't have much time to weave. My priority was seeing that the children ate, got dressed and got to school. <br><br> "But with the help of my husband's family, I was able to weave when I had a free moment. Novica has done much to help the Ruiz Bazan family. With what we earn from our weavings, we've been able to send our children to school, and now I have time to weave my own designs. <br><br> "I have four children ? three boys and a girl. The oldest is about to graduate from college and we're so proud of him. The next one is about to finish high school. The youngest boy has completed junior high and, like his brothers, is going on to high school. The youngest, my daughter, is in elementary school. It is my children who motivate my husband and me to be better every day. <br><br> "My art is unique and you won't find my designs among any other artisans. All my weavings are completely crafted by hand, and I have a very special technique that distinguishes my work from everyone else's. I began using it only recently and I call it 'black foot.' I hope you like my designs and that one day you'll come visit the area where I work. The doors are open to you. <br><br> "I'm grateful to Novica for giving us an alternative for marketing the handicrafts that our family creates."