Monthly Archives: November 2008

Norma’s Jewelry: Chatham Studio Tour, #19, December 5, 6, 13, 14

Hi everybody!  This is a little off target for Oaxaca, but most of you know that I am also a jewelry artist and my studio is open the first two weekends of December.  I’m part of the 50+ artist tour in Chatham County, NC — a juried show that is open to the public.  There’s a map and you can drive around and visit the various artist studios.  (Click on the Chatham Studio Tour on my blogroll to get to the website and the map.)  Here’s a preview of my work.  I’m closing out all my old lines and also my hand knit hats, scarves and shawls.

Dichroic Glass Pendant Necklace Peruvian Opal Pendant Necklace New Designs

Raku and Glass Earrings

Francisco Toledo’s Kites

Francisco Toledo Kite Toledo's Kite Bamboo Cross Bars Eric's Kite with Zapotec Pattern Eric's Kite Back norma-w_-kites

Kites, left to right: Francisco Toledo’s handmade paper kite; kite back; Eric Chavez Santiago’s Zapotec greca kite; kite back; Norma with kites.

Up in the hills in San Augustin Etla, about 30 minutes north of Oaxaca city, is the paper making workshop of Francisco Toledo.  Artists and apprentices first make the handmade paper, decorate the paper with Toledo designs using airbrush painting techniques, the fashion the art into fanciful kites that are sold there in the studio gallery or at IAGO on Macedonio Alcala in the historic center of Oaxaca near the Santo Domingo church.

The kites are decorated with figures that Toledo is famous for:  monkeys, fish, lizards, scorpions, devils, rabbits, dia de los muertos skeletal figures, bulls, cats, demons and denizens.  Art historian Teresa del Conde writes that Juchitan born artist Toledo dazzles us with his inventiveness and interpretation of divine creation, the primigenital force described in Genesis, the magical qualities of composition, the sagas of old Prehispanic codices and the iconographical aspects of his work.  Toledo is an artistic, social and political force in Oaxaca and works to create collaborations and brings people together to solve often difficult issues.

When Eric Chavez was in North Carolina in October he taught a workshop for teachers and one project was to make kites in the Toledo style and tradition.  Yesterday, on Thanksgiving morning, I held a workshop for the children who were coming to dinner.  I want to share this adventure with you.

normas-kite-design-1Painting brown paper bags Sierra's kite Kristin and Sierra painting kites

Left to right: Norma’s painted brown paper bag before it is made into a kite; Kristin, Sierra, Soren and Cassidy making kites on Thanksgiving day.

Norma's Thanksgiving Kite 2Norma's Swirl KiteNorma's Zapotec Greca Kite

Left to right:  Norma’s kite series, Thanksgiving Day Kite, Swirl Kite, Zapotec Greca Kite

How to make a kite:


1.  Brown paper grocery bag opened along the seams and laid flat (you can also use wrapping paper, old newspaper, plastic trash bags, Tyvek)

2.  Flying line:  cotton twine for flying

3.  Bamboo for the frames and structure.  You can cut apart bamboo window blinds or use bamboo stakes from a garden center.  Or, use think dowel.  You will need 1 piece 24″ long for the vertical bar and one piece 18″ long for the horizontal bar.

4.  Kite decoration: acrylic paints, brushes, stenciles, sponges.

It takes us about an hour to paint and decorate the brown side of the grocery shopping bag.  Let the paint dry (about 30 minutes).  Turn the paper over and lay the sticks in a cross over the area you want for your kite (you need to check the opposite painted side to be sure the design shows where you want it to and you choose the top and the bottom).

With masking tape pieces, tape the shorter 18″ stick a distance of 10″ down from the top of the 24″ stick.  Tape the intersection where they meet liberally!  Tape down the 4 ends of the 2 pieces.

Fold the diagonal sections one at a time, making a sharp crease, so that the paper meets the cross bars.  Cut 1/2″ to 1″ away from the crease, leaving an edge to overlap on the back of the kite.  Do this for all four sides.  Use Elmer’s glue to paste the edges of the kite.  This will take about an hour to dry.  You can then tie your cotton line.  A long tail is needed to fly this kite.  You can make the tail out of the bag handles!

December 2009 Happenings! Oaxaca Textile Museum.

Reciban un cordial Saludo. Estas son las actividades en el MTO para el mes de Diciembre, espero nos puedan acompañar. Información, comentarios y/o inscripciones  favor de comunicarse  a , o  Tel. 501 1104- ext. 104.

Greetings!  Here are December 2009 Museo Textil de Oaxaca (MTO) activities for your information.  If you have comments or suggestions, please send them to Eric Chavez Santiago at or, or telephone 501-1104 X.104.

EXPOSICIONES: Coming Expositions: Animated Plots: A Zoological Textile Exposición en curso: “Tramas animadas, un zoológico textil”

· Sábado 13 de diciembre de 2008, 20hrs – Inauguración exposición “Nudos teñidos. Ikat, Plangi y Tritik”

· Saturday, December 13, 2008, 8 p.m., Opening Reception: “Tie Dyeing: Ikat, Plangi and Tritik”

TALLERES Y PRESENTACIONES: Workshops and Presentations

PRESENTACIÓN: PROCESOS DE ELABORACION DE LOS TEXTILES A Presentation on the process of textile weaving and dyeing in Oaxaca. Entrada libre, dirigido al público en general. Free and open to the public.

Descripción: Presentación visual de los tipos de fibras, telares, técnicas de tejido y teñido utilizadas en Oaxaca Description: A visual presentation of the types of fibers, looms, and weaving and dyeing techniques used by weavers in Oaxaca.

Sábado 6 de Diciembre 4:00-5:00 pm (español). Saturday, December 6, 4-5 p.m. (Spanish)

Sábado 27 de Diciembre 4:00-5:00 pm (inglés). Saturday, December 27, 4-5 p.m. (English)

TALLER DE TEJIDO (incluye todos los materiales). WEAVING WORKSHOP (includes all materials)

Descripción: Cada participante tejerá sobre un telar de marco un textil de 20×40 cm con la técnica del tejido simple. Each participant will weave a 20 x 40 cm textile using a simple weaving technique on a frame loom.

Duración: 10 horas. This is a 10 hour workshop, five days, 2 hours per day. Schedule: Lunes 22, Martes 23, Viernes 26, Sábado 27 y Lunes 29 de Diciembre de  11:00am a 1:00pm. [Monday, December 22, Tuesday, December 23, Friday, December 26, Saturday, December 27, and Monday, December 29, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.]

Cupo: 10 participantes, dirigido a público en general a partir de 14 años. Limited to 10 participants, age 14 and older.

Donativo: 250 pesos. Cost is $250 pesos per person.

Impartido por: Eric Chavez- Servicios educativos MTO. Instructor is Eric Chavez Santiago, coordinator of educational services, Museo Textil de Oaxaca.


Descripción: Durante los 3 días de taller los participantes conocerán los materiales tintóreos, su fijación y aplicación sobre fibra de lana, cada participante tendrá un muestrario con las recetas utilizadas al finalizar el taller.

Description: During the three workshop days, participants will learn about dye materials and the dyeing process, and how the dyes are absorbed by the wool. Each participant will develop and use dye recipes to apply during the final workshop.

Duración: 18 horas. Length of Workshop: 18 hours. Jueves 11, Viernes 12 y sábado 13 de diciembre de 10:00am – 2:00pm y de 3:00pm – 5pm. Thursday-Saturday, December 11-13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (1 hour lunch break).

Cupo: 10 participantes, dirigido tejedores y público en general. Limited to 10 participants. Weavers and the general public are invited.

Donativo: taller 3 días: 500 pesos. Cost for the three-day workshop: $500 pesos.

Donativo por día: 200 pesos. If participants are only able to attend for one day, the cost is $200 pesos.

Impartido por: Eric Chavez- – Servicios educativos MTO. Instructor is Eric Chavez Santiago, coordinator of educational services, Museo Textil de Oaxaca.

TALLER: TIÑE TU PLAYERA CON AÑIL (incluye añil, no incluye playera de algodón) T-SHIRT DYEING WORKSHOP USING INDIGO (includes indigo dye, does not include cotton T-shirt)

Descripción: Cada participante podrá crear un diseño simple y teñir  su playera en añil con la técnica de teñido de reserva con nudos y pinzas. Description: Participants will create a simple design and dye a T-shirt using indigo (blue) dye. The technique is known as tie-dye, created by making knots and using clothespins.

Duración: 4 horas. Length of workshop: 4 hours.

Sábado 20 de Diciembre 10:00 am-2:00pm. One Day, Saturday, December 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cupo: 15 participantes, dirigido a niños y al público en general a partir de 10 años. Limited to 15 participants, for children age 10 years and older.

Donativo: 100 pesos. Cost for the workshop is $100 pesos.

Impartido por: Eric Chavez – Servicios educativos MTO. Instructor is Eric Chavez Santiago, coordinator of educational services, Museo Textil de Oaxaca.


Para niños de 5 a 23 años. For ages 5 to 23 years old.

Horario: 10:00 A 13:00 hrs y de 17:00 A 18:00 hrs. Hours: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5-6 p.m. De lunes a viernes (CERRADO MARTES), from Monday to Friday (closed Tuesday).

Relatos mágicos y divertidos, juegos populares, dichos y refranes,  actividades artesanales e información del Museo Textil para dar a conocer y compartir entre los niños la gran diversidad y belleza de los textiles en el mundo.

Amusing and magical stories, popular games, sayings and refrains, craft activities and interesting information from the Oaxaca Textile Museum in order to know, share, and experience the beauty and diversity of world textiles.

Contact information: Informes e inscripciones , ,  Tel. 501 1104- ext. 104

TODAS ESTAS ACTIVIDADES SE LLEVARÁN A CABO EN EL MTO. HIDALGO 917, CENTRO, OAXACA. All activities will be held at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca, Hidalgo Street #917, Historic Center of Oaxaca.


Eric Chávez Santiago

Servicios Educativos

Museo Textil de Oaxaca

Hidalgo 917.  Centro, Oaxaca  68000

Tel: (951)5011104 – 5011617 Ext.104

Quick, Post-Election Note From Eric Chavez

I have been reading that NC and Virginia made history in the US by voting democrat this year! this is amazing, it makes me wanting to visit with you soon! a lot of people here is excited of having Obama as president of the US.
Anyway, there are things going on in the city of Oaxaca, today, I prepared a lecture for tomorrow, I will present how to dye cellulose fibers to a group of artists and weavers, this is fun and I am glad to see more and more people interested on this things. There are so many things going on in the city, so many workshops and reading clubs and book fairs and movie festivals. This year in the book fair we´ll have Paul Auster from the US doing reading clubs and workshops, there will be concerts, etc. I am really getting to know more about our city now that I live in it.  I am taking so many pictures with my new camera, I love it!
I wish I was there to see this exhibit, thanks for the link. I was thinking that I would like to visit California next year and go to LA and maybe dysneyland hahaha!
La tinta grita/The Ink Shouts: The Art of Social Resistance in Oaxaca, Mexico

December Holidays in Oaxaca

Winter holidays – during the Christmas season and through the New Year – are a perfect time to visit Oaxaca (Wah-Ha-Kah). The daytime sun is warming and the evening chill is perfect for strolling wrapped in a hand woven robozo (shawl). Festive, brightly colored cut paper flags hang from the tops of buildings and drape across narrow cobblestone streets. Glorious deep cardinal red Buena Noche (red poinsettia) are planted like a carpet throughout the beds of the Zocalo and adorn the arched entry doors of village houses. Doorways are draped in ribbon and twinkle with electric lights.

December 12: Fiesta de la Virgen de Guadalupe

This annual celebration is held throughout Mexico, but in Teotitlan The Dance of the Feather is performed during this day in the church courtyard to celebrate Guadalupe´s anniversary.

December 15-23: Posadas in Teotitlan del Valle

In Teotitlan de Valle, the faithful join daily evening posadas that wend their way through the narrow streets and alleyways of villages, following a band that plays Sousa-like marching music and church elders who carry the Virgin, swinging copal incense and select men and women balancing hand-rolled beeswax candles to light the way. Each year nine families are chosen to host the Virgin Mary on each of the nights before Christmas eve.  Each night represents the nine months of Guadalupe’s pregnancy.  The processionals are led by the hosting family carrying sculptures of Jose (Joseph) and Maria (Mary) through the main streets of the village before delivering them to the next posada house.  Each host family invites relatives and friends to celebrate the honor with them, and the revelry continues through the night with songs, prayer, music, food and drink.  On the last night, the Ultimate Posada (La Posada Ultima) is the most special for the chosen family because they become godparents to the birth of Jesus, who appears in the creche that night to join Joseph and Mary.

December 23: La Noche de los Rabanos (Night of the Radishes)

These are giant red horseradishes grown on farms in the Ocotlan region of Oaxaca, carved into dioramas depicting religious and village life – imagine it and there will be a radish carved to look like it. The lines start to form around the Zocalo at around 4 p.m. and can extend for 12 square blocks. People come from throughout the state of Oaxaca and tourists descend from around the world. The outdoor cafes surrounding the Zocalo are packed and it is difficult to find a seat – squatters arrive early and never get up. People are careful to eat and drink very slowly. There is a raised platform walkway that funnels viewers around the periphery of the staging and display area. Throughout the night, the radish carvers wield big squirt bottles of water to freshen their displays to prevent wilting. The Grand Prize is $10,000 USD!

We like to get there early, around mid to late afternoon, when there are fewer people so we are there as the final carving is being done and the finishing touches are put on – a hat placed on a radish head, a hoe fixed with a toothpick into the hand of a radish farmer, a cross tilted to just the right angle in the arm of a radish priest. Last year, we got to the Zocalo too late, and found snaking lines that had no end, so we crossed through the line and entered into the center of the plaza, able to see a rear view of what was going on, craning our necks to get a glimpse of the radish scenes before us. It was fun to talk to the farmers this way.

December 24: Christmas Eve in Templo Santo Domingo

The gold altar of Santo Domingo Church is never more resplendent than it is on Christmas Eve. If you are going to midnight mass, be certain to arrive and get a seat by 10:30 p.m. otherwise it is standing room only in the back of the church. Overflow is outside the church doors in the chill December air. The entire service is in Spanish and it is punctuated with responsive reading and choral music.

Christmas eve is celebrated in Teotitlan just like everywhere else in Mexico.

December 25: Parade of the Buses

Yes, this is a day off for the bus drivers, who bring their families with them to the city to ride in the parade. Bus drivers own their own buses, and they come from all the surrounding villages to participate. The buses are festooned with flowers, crepe paper, and all sorts of holiday decorations. Family members smile and wave – they remind me of the floats in the Rose Parade. A posada of buses. A sight to behold.

No one works on Christmas day; it is a time to visit with family.

December 31:  Las Cuevitas– Pedimento

Teotitlan villagers walk up to the “pedimento” which they call cuevitas because there are several little caves around this hill.  Folklore has it that an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe was found here and it is considered a sacred place.  People stay overnight to receive the new year here and believe that if you ask for anything you want on January 1st, it will come true during the year.

In Oaxaca City on December 31, families usually have a big dinner together to receive the new year.  At midnight, 12:00 a.m., they eat 12 grapes and ask for 12 wishes.

January 1: New Year in Teotitlan del Valle

The entire village goes by foot or car or tuk-tuk (moto-taxi) to the holy area just outside the village in the foothills that is dotted with caves. There is a grotto there to make an offering of prayers for a healthy and happy new year. The tradition is to bring a picnic and gather up stones from the landscape, build a dream house, make a wish, and the dreams will come true. The first year that we went, we were the only non-indigenous participants. In recent years, we have seen more visitors participating with local Zapotec community members in the ancient celebration.