Once in a while a question shows up on my blog that is part of a key word search that I am compelled to write about, even though you can find this information through a search on this blog. And the answer is, it depends on what you are looking for. Oaxaca galleries and shops have abundant selection. If you go, please let them know you read about them here. The other option is to travel to particular villages and search out the finest craftspeople — an exercise that can take a lifetime! As a point of information, I write these reviews based upon my own knowledge and personal preferences, and am not compensated for any of these opinions. If you have suggestions for others, please feel free to comment.
Favorite shops for handwoven clothing and table linens:
- Museo Textil de Oaxaca. The museum shop (closed Tuesdays and for afternoon lunch between 2-4 p.m.), features a small collection of very fine handwoven huipiles, scarves and shawls (silk, cotton, wool), pillow covers, handbags and jewelry. Prices are high, but so is the quality.
- Remigio Mestas — Gallery Shop in the Los Danzantes courtyard on Macedonio Alcala features clothing and bolts of handwoven textiles. Remigio is the “go-to” man for all the major collectors. The array of textiles is mind-boggling. He encourages the best indigenous weavers from remote villages all over Oaxaca to use highest quality materials. The prices are premium and worth it.
- Tally. This small, eclectic shop on Av. Cinco de Mayo between Abasolo and Constitucion, offers a small selection of huipiles.
- Malacate by Silvia Suarez. She is a textile designer and friend of the Museo Textil de Oaxaca director Ana Paula Fuentes who selects high quality huipiles and embroidered fabrics and works with local seamstresses to create handbags and pillows, too. The shop is located on Gurrion, the short street that borders the side of Santo Domingo church, around the corner from El Che restaurant. Pricey and worth it.
- The shop inside the La Biznaga restaurant courtyard on Garcia Virgil. They have changed owners and I don’t know the name. There are excellent textiles here at fair prices. You need to be able to discern the higher quality from the rest. Great gifts and contemporary jewelry at excellent prices, including alebrijes and stuffed animals from Chiapas.
- Sheri Brautigam, La Lucita Imports, Oaxaca. (Not a shop, an individual designer). Sheri is a San Francisco textile designer relocated to Oaxaca, where she uses Tenancingo ikat woven cotton fabrics to fashion traditional quechquemetls, an indigenous shawl that is fabulous for throwing over your head to cover your shoulders. Contact Sheri directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mexico cell (044) or (045)-951-151-1557
- La Mano Magica, Calle Macedonio Alcala pedestrian street between the Cathedral and Santo Domingo Church. Wide array of high quality folk art handpicked by Mary Jane Gagnier and textiles woven by Arnulfo Mendoza.
What to look for: uniform weave, tightly woven, strong seams, no fraying, finished edges.
Favorite shops for highest quality handwoven rugs using natural dyes:
- Galeria Fe y Lola, Av. Cinco de Mayo between Constitucion and Abasolo, in Oaxaca city
- El Nahual, Av. Cinco de Mayo next door to Galeria Fe y Lola, in Oaxaca city
- Chavez Santiago Family Weavers, Francisco I. Madero #55, Teotitlan del Valle
- Demetrio Bautista, Av. Benito Juarez, Teotitlan del Valle
- Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez, Constitucion #12, Teotitlan del Valle
- Bii Dauu Cooperative, Av. Iturbide, Teotitlan del Valle
- All the young Teotitlan del Valle weavers who exhibited at the anthropological museum at Monte Alban I wrote about on this blog — not all their weavings use natural dyes, so you need to ask
What to look for: tight weave, double weft chords on each side, 10-12 threads per inch for traditional tapestry weave, 22 threads per inch for Saltillo weave, authentic use of 100% hand spun wool and natural dyes, straight edges so rug lies flat, securely tied fringes.