Category Archives: Textiles, Tapestries & Weaving

Let’s Go Shopping: Eleven Mexican Shawls, Scarves, Rebozos for Sale

Rebozos are part of Mexican female identity and culture. Frida wore them. So did the women of the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920. Aristocrats from Spain loved their shoulder coverings as they strolled the Alameda. Indigenous women still rely on them to swaddle and carry infants. Women in El Norte (USA and Canada) find them comforting on a chilly fall evening or to adorn a favorite outfit.

These rebozos I am offering for sale today are part of my collection. They are new and never worn. Most are from Tenancingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico, where the men weave ikat cotton and women hand-knot elaborate fringes. I have one piece from Zinacantan, Chiapas, two from Santa Maria del Rio, San Luis Potosi, and one from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca.

How to Buy: Send me an email and identify which one you want by NUMBER, plus your mailing address. I will then send you a PayPal invoice that will include mailing costs.  I will mail on the next business day.

Style 1: Zinacantan Chal, machine embroidered on back strap loomed cloth, 45″ x 20-1/2″, with handmade tassels.  Zinacantan is a village outside of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas. Floral motifs are predominant here. $120 USD plus shipping.

P.S. I have two spaces open for the February textile study tour to Chiapas. Email me if you are interested and I’ll send you the program description.

Style 1: Zinacantan Chal, $120

Style 1. Zinacantan Chal detail.

Style 2: SOLD. Large Navy Blue Ikat Rebozo, $175, hand-woven in Tenancingo on a flying shuttle loom with hand-knotted fringe. This large shawl measures 92″ long (including an 11″ hand-knotted fringe) and 29″ wide.

Style 2: Navy Blue Rebozo, $175

Style 2: Navy Blue Ikat Rebozo, detail

Style 3: SOLD. Multi-Rebozo with Blue, Red and Yellow, $175. This is what is known as Grande, 92″ long (including 11″ fringe) and 29″ wide. It is a very fine ikat cotton. Hand-woven in Tenancingo with a hand-knotted fringe.

Style 3, Red, Blue, Yellow Rebozo, extra large, $175

Style 3: Blue, Red, Yellow Rebozo

Style 4: SOLD. This striking contrast of rose and black together with a hand-knotted fringe that says Remember Me gives this very fine quality rebozo a subtle, yet powerfully contrasting design. $125. Size Medium. 88″ long (including a 12″ fringe) and 27″ wide.

Style 4: Rose and Black rebozo, Medium Size, $125 — Recuerdame

Style 4: Recuerdame detail

Style 5: SOLD. Chakira Chalina, $150. Rare, pale blue/gray shawl in plain weave, with intricate fringe that is knotted with beadwork.  Each bead in the fringe is part of the hand-knotting process.  A dying art form! Size medium, measures 82″ long (incuding 11″ fringe) and 29″ wide. Made in Tenancingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico.

Style 5: Chakira Chalina, $150

Style 5: Chakira Chalina, fringe detail

Style 6: Black and Red Ikat Scarf. $95. This is loomed in Santa Maria del Rio, San Luis Potosi, and woven of rayon, which the locals call seda or silk, because it has a smooth, shiny, silky finish. The scarf measures 90″ long (including an 8″ fringe) and 13-3/4″ wide.

Style 6, Red/Black Ikat Scarf, $95

Style 6: Red/Black Ikat Scarf, detail

Style 7: SOLD. Small Black/Brown Ikat Scarf, $35. Measures 50″ long (including 5″ fringe) by 18-3/4″ wide. A nice addition to keep your neck warm as the weather chills.

Style 7: Black/Brown Ikat Scarf, $35

Style 7: Black/Brown Ikat Scarf, detail

Style 8: SOLD. Indigo-dyed Scarf, $115, by Juan Carlos from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. Juan Carlos is my neighbor and his work is exceptionally fine. This is a deep, rich blue, all natural with hand-spun wool. 72″ long (including 4″ fringe) by 14″ wide. The fringe is hand-knotted by his wife.

Style 8: Indigo dyed wool scarf, $115

Style 8: Indigo Scarf, detail

Style 9: SOLD. Super Grande Rebozo, $150. This is made in Santa Maria del Rio, San Luis Potosi, handwoven rayon that the locals call seda (or silk) because of its smooth, silky hand. Color is predominantly dark blue and lime green. Measures 114″ long (with huge 20″ hand-knotted fringe) by 30″ wide. A stunner.

Style 9: Super Grande Shawl, $150

Style 9: Fringe detail

Style 10: SOLD. This Rose Chalina shawl, $125,  is made from the highest quality cotton and has a very fine hand. The fabric is soft and glows. The intricate fringe is all hand-knotted. It’s called a Chalina because it is a plain weave with no pattern. It measures 90″ long (including a 12″ fringe) by 28″ wide. Made in Tenancingo.

Style 10: Rose Chalina, Super Fine and Large, $125

Style 10: Rose Chalina detail

Style 11: SOLD. Black with Coral Accents Ikat Rebozo, $110, size medium, measures 78″ long (including 9″ fringe) by 28″ wide. A graphic masterpiece. Made in Tenanciingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico on a flying shuttle loom.

Style 11: Black Ikat with Coral Accents, $110

Style 11: Black Ikat Shawl detail

NY Times Mentions Norma Schafer: In Mexico, Weavers Embrace Natural Alternatives to Toxic Dyes

Click here to read article. 

First, a special call-out to Porfirio Gutierrez and his family for all they do to promote the use of natural dyes in the making of their hand-woven tapestries. His sister Juana is a master dyer and his brother-in-law Antonio innovates on design and materials. Congratulations on this feature story!

I was honored to be interviewed a couple of months ago by New York Times Science reporter Erica Goode to offer source information about the natural dye world in Teotitlan del Valle.

Of course, I emphasized that in addition to Porfirio’s family, there are about a dozen other families or family groups who are dedicated to preserving the natural dye culture. This includes my host family, Galeria Fe y Lola, Federico Chavez Sosa and Dolores Santiago Arrellanas. This takes time, commitment and an investment of more expensive materials.

Please join me on a one-day natural dye and weaving study tour to explore our weaving culture in more depth.

Bowers Museum of Art Invites Norma Schafer to Speak About Oaxaca, Mexico

Today, I arrive in Southern California to give a talk about Oaxaca, Mexico, art and culture at the Bowers Museum of Art in Santa Ana. The Collectors’ Club invited me about six months ago to make a presentation on Saturday afternoon, September 16, 2017.

There is so much about Oaxaca to cover.  I thought I would share my narrative outline with you:

Interior gold leaf, Templo Santo Domingo, Oaxaca

Oaxaca is one of those rare places in the world that inspires creativity and artistic expression. A UNESCO World Heritage site colonized by the Spanish in 1521, its indigenous roots go back 8,000 years ago.

It is mestizo, mixed, a blend of ancient and contemporary, reflecting generations of invasion, migration and cultural identity. Walk her cobbled streets and feel Colonial history. Explore her villages and know the first peoples who lived here before – and now.

White corn tlayuda, indigenous, organic, non-GMO

Corn (maize) was first hybridized in nearby Yagul, Oaxaca, caves by Zapotec farmers. Carbon dating has pinpointed this at 6,000-8,000 years ago. The plant traveled worldwide to become an essential food source on every continent.

Barbecue served for local fiestas

Oaxaca’s culinary prowess is second to none. Her finest restaurants and humble comedors give way to innovative recipes rooted in native history, married with European influences. We know mole negro. There are six others.

Intricately embroidered blouse, San Bartolome Ayautla

Women sit at back strap looms, nested on packed earth floors in remote villages weaving beautiful garments with supplemental wefts embellished with figures from nature and the constellations, just as they did thousands of years ago. There is a revival of native natural dyes, including cochineal and indigo, as well as the use of native silk and wild cotton.

Indigo dye bath turns wild marigold colored wool to green

Pulque, the fermented juice of the agave plant evolved into mezcal, a leading artisanal beverage distilled from the roasted core of wild and cultivated cactus plants. Have you tried Gracias a Dios Gin Mezcal?

Health benefits of agua miel before it becomes pulque

Ceramic figures and cooking vessels are made today much like they were in 900 A.D. when Zapotecs artisans supplied the mountain-top kingdom of Monte Alban. Mixtec gold filigree jewelry unearthed at this archeological site is reproduced and offered for sale, made even more desirable by popular Frida Kahlo style. Contemporary silversmiths adapt traditional designs for practical daily wear.

Ancient traditions, making a clay comal for tortilla making

And, the contemporary art scene is unparalleled. Printmakers, graphic artists, painters and muralists actively produce extraordinary works that capture the essence of Mexican history, culture and politics. Their work is rooted in the pre-Revolutionary iconic work of Jose Guadalupe Posada and post-Revolutionary murals of Rivera, Orozco and Siquieros.

Painter Gabo Mendoza talks about the subject of his works

Experimentation, innovation and design permeate a vibrant arts scene that encompasses all the senses.

Market scene, Teotitlan del Valle

Yet, Oaxaca is the second poorest state in Mexico. It has pockets of poverty, social unrest and a widening economic gap. Rural, indigenous people have limited access to education, health care and public services. They demonstrate peacefully now to express their discontent.

Day of the Dead Altar

Despite this, Oaxaca is safe and welcoming.

During this presentation, Norma Schafer will lead a visual tour of Oaxaca city and villages, discuss artisanal crafts and contemporary art in the context of social history, bring examples for you to see and touch, and answer questions you may have.

At the confite, the church parade

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Hands Special — Oaxaca Day of the Dead 2-Day Natural Dye Workshop

So, you are coming to Oaxaca for Day of the Dead!

Here is a chance to get beyond the sugar skulls and cemeteries, the masks and parades, and go deeper into the natural dye traditions of our wonderful region without leaving the city of Oaxaca.

Put your hands into the indigo dye bath. Watch them turn blue: A Day of the Dead Badge of Distinction.  (OK, you can wash it off with soap and water, if you want.)

Blue hands, mark of distinction!

Natural dyes have been used by indigenous people of Oaxaca to color wool, cotton and silk for centuries. It thrives today among a small group of local artisans dedicated to preserving cultural history.

Blue Hands Special:

2-Day Day of the Dead Natural Dye Workshop

Sunday and Monday, October 28-29, 2017  OR

Friday and Saturday, November 3-4, 2017

10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

$250* per person, 4 participants maximum each session

*Bring a friend, get a discount, pay $225 for each

We are based in a Centro Historico neighborhood within walking distance (about six city blocks) from Oaxaca’s Zocalo — downtown plaza.

Plant materials and cochineal for making dyes, wool dye sampler

The hands-on workshop includes 10 hours of instruction to learn about Oaxaca´s natural dye traditions, materials and techniques used in the Central Valley of Oaxaca.

Natural dye sampler, another version

The workshop focuses on understanding how the chemistry of  natural dyes act on the protein fibers (we use wool), and how this can be reproduced in your home or studio using local materials.

Pomegranate, great dye source

The workshop includes cochineal, indigo, pomegranate, marigolds, and brazilwood to create 16 different colors. Participant will receive recipes and put together a sampler of each natural dye color created on hand-spun 100% churro sheep wool. 

Overdyeing wild marigold with indigo

Topics:

Sourcing local materials

Discussing Oaxaca natural dye traditions 

Understanding fibers and how they react to dye

Mordanting, and how it works

Extracting color — sampling for intensity

Preparing the natural indigo vat

Dyeing and over-dyeing to get color range

Limited availability: 4 participants for each workshop

To register, contact: Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC 

We will send you an invoice to pre-pay with PayPal. When we receive funds, we will confirm your registration and send you instructor contact information, and a map.

Natural dyes on cotton

The workshop includes instruction, all materials, recipes and the sampler. It does not include beverages, snacks or lunch. We suggest you bring your own if you get thirsty or hungry.

Blue hands in the dye bath

About the Dye Studio

We hold the dye workshops on the rooftop terrace of a home located in the City of Oaxaca, only 10 minutes walking from the main square of the capital. The studio was founded by two artisans, wife and husband, who are committed to preserving natural dye traditions. The wife is a native of Oaxaca City. The husband is a fourth generation member of a family of weavers and dyers in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. Both are bilingual, speaking Spanish and English.

Acid and base chemistry for color changes in cochineal

For the last 12 years, the couple has focused on natural dyeing processes and traditions. Their experience includes researching local indigo and cochineal, collaborating with local and international dyers, experimenting with recipes and testing fastness of the colors on both protein (wool, silk) and cellulose fibers (cotton, linen, hemp).

Both have taught dye workshops in universities, cultural centers and museums in Mexico, the United States and Europe. Currently, the studio provides the service of dyeing fibers for local artisan weavers and teaching workshops.

Washing, mordanting the wool

Wild marigold skein, and cochineal with indigo over-dye

Videos–A World of Makers in One T-Shirt: #whomademyclothes

Today, I’m setting out to take visitors from Australia to meet some of the Oaxaca weavers of fine textiles who work in natural dyes. They make the finished product. But it gets me to thinking about all the people who were part of the creation process.

I think, today, I will ask our weavers, Where does the dye come from? Where does the wool come from? Who spins it? What about the cotton? Is it imported? Grown in Mexico? Commercially spun? This whole discussion makes me more curious!

Here is a short, one-minute + video from NPR sent to me by Judi Ross. It’s beautiful and personal. It’s a visual story worth taking time out to see.

 

#whomademyclothes

I think its fascinating to think about all the people in the world whose hands have touched what we wear.

Saludos,
Norma

https://apps.npr.org/tshirt/#/you