Weavers from Oaxaca exhibit in North Carolina

Pittsboro, NC – Textile artists, brother and sister Eric and Janet Chavez Santiago, from the village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico, will present weaving and natural dyeing lectures, demonstrations, exhibitions and workshops in Siler City and Pittsboro during a 3-week artists residency starting Oct. 1, 2008. Over nine programs are scheduled, made possible through the North Carolina Arts Incubator (NCAI), located in historic Siler City. NCAI received a generous Grassroots Grant from Chatham Arts, through the NC Arts Council, to mount the extensive program. Most events are free and open to the public. Eric Chavez Santiago is coordinator of educational services at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca, the only museum in Mexico focused exclusively on textiles and their preservation. Janet is a university senior studying languages and linguistics. Both are fluent in English.

The pair will discuss Oaxaca and indigenous Zapotec art, culture, archeology and history, and demonstrate 500-year old tapestry weaving traditions of their village. A natural dyeing workshop will focus on the preparation of indigo, cochineal and moss to dye wool and cotton for weaving, knitting, and other fiber arts. As the first artists-in-residence at the NCAI, they will have open studio space in which to work and talk personally with people. Please call ahead to see if they are there!

A tuition-free, in-service training and education program for Chatham County teachers, provided by the grant, will offer creative arts techniques for teaching multicultural understanding. The Chatham Artists Guild is underwriting a public presentation to be held at Central Carolina Community College, Pittsboro Campus. Other activities will be held at Against His Will Studio, Siler City, and Chatham Arts Gallery in Pittsboro.

A raffle to raise funds not covered by the Grassroots Grant, including travel expenses for Janet Chavez Santiago, is being sponsored by NCAI. Janet has donated a fine tapestry hand-woven rug that is naturally dyed. The prominent colors are shades of red using cochineal, with accents of indigo and moss. The rug is valued at $400. Raffle tickets are $10 each and only 100 tickets will be sold.

Photo, upper right: Janet with her rug for raffle. Photo below is Janet demonstrating techniques for dyeing with indigo at a recent workshop in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca.

For program or raffle information, please contact Sue Szary, director, NC Arts Incubator, 919-663-1335, P.O. Box 643, Siler City, NC 27344, or suencartsincubator@embarqmail.com

Schedule of Events and Activities

  • Wed., Oct. 1, 10:30 a.m., NCAI Gallery, Siler City, artists to hang rug exhibition
  • Thurs., Oct. 2, 6:30 p.m., Cloth Fiber Workshop, Asheville, natural dyeing workshop (not a Grassroots Grant activity)
  • Sun., Oct. 5, Noon-5 p.m., Chatham Arts Gallery Opening, First Sunday Pittsboro
  • Sun., Oct. 5, Noon-6 p.m., Festifall Exhibition and Sale, Franklin St., Chapel Hill
  • Tues., Oct. 7, 7 p.m., “Textile Treasures of Oaxaca,” Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) Pittsboro Campus Multi-purpose Room, sponsored by Chatham Artists Guild/Studio Tour and CCCC
  • Sat., Oct. 11, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tapestry Weaving and Natural Dyeing Workshop, Against His Will Gallery & Studio, Siler City. Workshop Fee: $95 per person, limited to 12 participants
  • Sat., Oct. 11, 7 p.m., Reception for Artists and Gallery Dedication, NCAI, Siler City
  • Wed., Oct. 15, 4-7 p.m. Chatham County Teachers In-Service Workshop, NCAI, Siler City
  • Fri., Oct. 17, 6-9 p.m., NCAI, 3rd Friday Artwalk, Siler City, 8:30 p.m. Drawing for Raffle of Janet Chavez Santiago Tapestry Rug
After leaving North Carolina on October 24, the Chavez weavers will travel to South Bend, Ind., where they are invited by the University of Notre Dame Snite Museum of Art to exhibit at the annual Day of the Dead Celebration. The pair will also lecture, demonstrate and exhibit at the South Bend Museum of Art before returning to Mexico on November 3.

For complete Chavez Santiago family biographical information, and to discover more about Oaxaca, please visit www.oaxacaculture.com

The Chavez Santiago family programs are presented by a Chatham Arts Grassroots Grant through the NC Arts Council, North Carolina Arts Incubator, Against His Will Gallery & Studio, Norma Hawthorne Oaxaca Cultural Navigator, Chatham Artists Guild, and Central Carolina Community College, Pittsboro Campus, with special thanks to Hickory Mountain Weavers and Travis Cohn.

For media: To arrange for a feature story or to cover an event, please contact Norma Hawthorne, (919) 274-6194.

For organizations: If you would like to invite Eric and Janet to make a presentation to your group or guild, please contact Norma Hawthorne. Limited evening and daytime dates are available.

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