Husband and wife team Tito Mendoza and Alejandrina Rios Sanchez are creative, talented and have a flair for design. Tito, cousin of the famed Arnulfo Mendoza, is an excellent weaver in his own right and his intricate handwoven textiles are extraordinary. Ale knows how to put together fabrics, whimsical animalitos, hand-wrought metal decor, and folkloric touches that create a magical space with unusual and interesting design elements. Their modest adobe casita in Teotitlan del Valle, where they retreat on weekends, is full of antiques, collectibles, handmade furniture, and contemporary art. The mix is beautiful and Ale has replicated this feel in their new gallery, El Nahual.
Now, after years of working in the gallery at El Mano Magico on the main cobblestone pedestrian thoroughfare of Macedonio Alcala in the historic center of Oaxaca, Ale is expressing herself through a new venture that she and Tito have embarked upon.
El Nahual is located on Avenida 5 de Mayo, parallel to Macedonio Alcala, and just down from where 5 de Mayo intersects with Gurrion, the side street that borders the iglesia Santo Domingo. You will find lovely wool and silk handbags woven by Tito, intricately woven cotton handbags formed on a backstrap loom from one of the premiere weavers of Santo Tomas Jalieza, the silvercast jewelry made by Frenchwoman Brigitte of Kanda Designs, personally selected and highest quality alebrijes of all shapes and sizes, little mirror hearts that are perfect to reflect light from a bathroom or hallway wall, and giant red hearts with wings that makes my heart sing. The two-room shop is full of surprises and the quality of everything is the best you can find anywhere in town. The prices are fair and do not have an exorbitant mark-up.
The best thing for me when I drop by, is to be greeted by Ale and her lovely daughter Liliana, who give everyone who enters a warm welcome.