Category Archives: Textiles, Tapestries & Weaving

Summer Wraps from Mexico for Sale

In my getting ready to go back to Oaxaca from Durham, NC, I’m going through the boxes of my collection to decide what I’m ready to send off from my house to yours! My departure date is June 22, so please, if you are interested in making a purchase, let me know immediately, and I’ll mail to you as soon as I receive payment. Mail deadline is Wednesday, June 20. Eight pieces offered.

How to order:

  1. Send me an email: norma.schafer@icloud.com
  2. Tell me which piece(s) you want by Number.
  3. Send me your mailing address.
  4. I will send you a PayPal invoice that includes $8 USD postage.
  5. I’ll mail to you within 24 hours.

Also see my last post for Summer Frocks — big price reductions!

1. From Pinotepa de Don Luis on Oaxaca’s Costa Chica

#1. SOLD. This is a hand-spun native Oaxaca cotton gauze shawl embellished with local coastal figures like crabs and seahorses along with traditional symbols of fertility and wildlife. The brown is rare, native coyuchi cotton and is part of the woven cloth, called supplemental weft. Measure’s 22-1/2″ wide x 86″ long — long enough to serve as  shawl, rebozo or stole or a throw over a favorite chair or bed. $125 USD.

#1. Coyuchi and white cotton rebozo detail.

Is there a summer wedding or garden party in your future?

#2. Tlahuitoltepec, Oaxaca shawl woven on a fly-shuttle loom, indigo + cochineal

#2 SOLD is a fine quality jacquard rebozo, hand-woven on a fly-shuttle loom with the finest cotton hand-dyed with indigo and cochineal and banana bark. It comes from the Oaxaca village of Tlahuitoltepec where one weaving family creates all natural dye cotton textiles. Measures 25″ wide x 88″ long (including the macrame hand-knotted fringe called the punta). $145 USD.

#2, detail of Tlahuitoltepec rebozo

Will you be dining al fresco and want the perfect wrap?

#3 Chiapas shawl of many colors, from the Oxchuc people

#3 SOLD is a multi-colored shawl/rebozo that includes hand-twisted fringes. It will go with anything! The textile was hand-woven on the back-strap loom in a remote Oxchuc village by Catalina, a young mother who learned from her mother, who learned from her mother! To keep the tradition going it’s important to have buyers, so I chose to support them and bring their work to you. The village, where I visited, is about an hour and a half up the mountain from San Cristobal de Las Casas. Measures 23″ wide x 78″ long. $145 USD.

#3. Detail, Oxchuc rebozo, called a Chal in Chiapas.

What about that summer concert under the stars?

#4 is a lightweight gauze shawl from Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas

#4 is a beautiful white shawl hand-woven on the back-strap loom and embellished with red, rust, yellow and purple accents in designs unique to the village of Venustiano Carranza. The region is closer to the Pacific coast and gets pretty hot and steamy, so the fabrics woven there are lightweight cotton and comfortable. Drapes beautifully. Measures 26″ wide x 76″ long. $135 USD.

#4, full view of soft, white shawl from Venustiano Carranza

#5 is a Venustiano Carranza wrap in luscious pale peach

#5 shawl from Venustiano Carranza is a beautiful, subtle luscious peach color cotton woven on the back-strap loom. Imagine this draped over your shoulders. The design that is woven into the textile is also a contrasting peach color using thread that has a sheen. This gives a lovely matte-shiny finish to this piece. Measures 26-1/2″ wide x 80″ long. $135 USD.

#5 Peach rebozo detail

#6 is an ikat scarf hand-woven by Luis Rodriguez from Tenancingo de Degollado

SOLD. This #6 ikat scarf features warp threads dyed with indigo and wild marigold. The pattern created on the loom looks like a Matisse painting. The blue and yellow together offer a range of shades from yellow to chartreuse, a great compliment to the indigo blue. The punta, or fringes, are hand-knotted. Measures 16-1/2″ wide x 72″ long. $75 USD.

#6 ikat scarf detail

#7 Coyuchi cotton quechquemitl from Khadi Oaxaca

#7 is a luxuriously soft native brown coyuchi cotton hand-spun on the charkha — Ghandi spinning wheel — in the Oaxaca mountain village of San Sebastian Rio Hondo. The intricate needlework trim and joinery is forest green. The quechquemitl is a pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican garment favored by women as an over-the-head short poncho. I call it a pull-over scarf. It is perfect to wear of an evening or to cover the bodice or shoulders of a sun dress. Measures 21″ long from the V-neck to the point and 31″ wide across the front. Rotate it to get a different look. Wear it like a scarf, too. $95 USD.

#7 detail of coyuchi cotton quechquemitl

#8 Indigo and Wild Marigold Quechquemitl from Khadi Oaxaca

#8 SOLD Quechquemitl combines cotton dyed with Oaxaca-grown indigo and native wild marigold flowers. The iridescent color combination sometimes tricks you into thinking there might be some green in there. Because the cotton is hand-spun, it offers beautiful texture and slubs. Similar measurements as #7. $85 USD.

#8 Detail of indigo blue and wild marigold quechquemitl

 

Summer Frocks From Mexico For Sale

It’s getting steamy hot here in North Carolina. It reminds me of growing up in Southern California pre-air conditioning, when my mom would shut windows and shades tight as soon as the sun came up trying to keep the chill desert night contained for another day. We learned to hunker down in summer heat. Now, I like going to a matinee movie to keep cool and can walk to one easily from my downtown condo.

CHECK OUT THE SALE. PRICES REDUCED BELOW. 

I’m leaving here on June 22 to begin my return to Oaxaca for the summer, where afternoon rains serve as nature’s air conditioning. This means, if you are interested in shopping and ordering, you need to do this before June 20.

How to Order:  Send me an email. Send me your address. Tell me which item(s) you want by number. I’ll send you a PayPal invoice to complete your payment (I’ll be adding $8 mailing cost to the total.)

Okay, now for the goodies.

1A. San Antonino dress, embroidery, crochet, gathered bodice

1A. This San Antonino dress has been part of my collection, new and never worn. Notice the dense embroidered flowers and birds, the tiny dolls on the bodice that serve to hold the gathers, the fine crochet work around the neckline, sleeve edges and skirt. Bodice is 24″ wide across the front, armpit to armpit. Dress measures 40″ long. Hard to find one like this now. WAS $275 USD. BUY IT NOW $225 USD.

1B. Bodice detail with fine muñecas (dolls) that hold the gathers

1C. An abundance of flowers!

2A. Chiapas, Mexico, fine embroidered blouse from Sna Jolobil Cooperative

2. Sna Jolobil is the premiere cooperative in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, founded by Chip Morris and Pedro Meza. This pull-over is the finest 100% cotton and the embroidery hand-work is exquisite. It is a soft yellow green and the threads are so fine and dense you can’t see any of the base cloth.  Measures 26″ wide by 28″ long. $125 USD.  You can see their work at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market this summer, too. SALE. BUY IT NOW FOR $89.

2B. Detail of Sna Jolobil blusa

3. Black gauze Aguacatenango, Chiapas, blouse made by Francisca

3.  SOLD. This lightweight, comfortable all cotton blouse with long sleeves is totally made by hand. Even the finished French seams and hem are stitched by hand. All hand-embroidered bodice and sleeve accents. Perfect for casual wear or a dressy hot summer evening. Measures 22″ wide across bodice from armpit to armpit and 30″ long. Size M-L. $85 USD.

We go to Francisca’s house in this village on our 2019 Chiapas Textile Study Tour There are a few places left. Come with us.

4. Olive green cotton gauze blouse with brilliant collar embroidery

4. SOLD. Another beauty from Francesca, this lightweight cotton blouse is trimmed in multi-colored cotton embroidery floss at neckline and cuff reflecting how Mexican women are not afraid of color. Measures 22″ wide at bust and 30″ long. Size M-L. $75 USD.

5. Wine red blouse hand-woven on a back-strap loom, Chiapas

5. SOLD. This cotton blouse is woven on a back-strap loom in the village of Aldama Magdalenas. I bought it from a small family cooperative there. It is excellent quality and the design is woven right into the cloth — a process called supplementary weft. Measures 24-1/2″ wide and 28″ long. WAS $75 USD.BUY IT NOW FOR $59 USD. 

6. Aldama blouse, hand-woven on back-strap loom

6. From the same cooperative in Aldama Magdalenas, this easy-to-care-for cotton blouse is woven on the back-strap loom in two pieces and stitched together by hand. The pattern across the chest is woven into the cloth. The trim around the neck and sleeve is embroidered by hand. SALE. WAS $65. USD. BUY IT NOW FOR $49 USD. 

7. Zinacantan flowers come to life with cross-stitching, vintage blouse

7.  SOLD. Too beautiful to pass up! It is getting more difficult to find any hand-work in Zinacantan, Chiapas these days. This is done with punto de cruz or cross-stitch. The entire bodice is filled with flowers. The base cloth is polyester (full disclosure). The ladies there don’t care, since it washes up and will dry immediately without shrinkage. They wear the blouse tucked into their fanciful skirts, so the solid fabric doesn’t show. Measures 26″ wide x 28″ long. $125 USD.

What can you use this for? Wear it! Hang it! Make a pillow out of it!

8. Zinacantan cross-stitch blouse, vintage

8. SOLD. Here is another cross-stitch blouse with fine needlework. The seams are closed with hand-stitching, too. Base cloth is polyester and there are some stains on the cloth. So, I will sell this for much less than the other. Measures 30″ wide x 27″ long. $65 USD.

What can you make from this one? A handbag? A pillow cover? Repurpose the embroidered part and sew it into the bodice of a new dress?

9. Juchitan Tehuantepec Frida Kahlo Style Blouse

9. Slinky black fabric (I think it’s polyester or rayon) is lined with cotton, and then top-stitched by machine in contrasting navy blue and white. A stunning blouse to wear with pants or a flouncy Frida Kahlo-style skirt. Perfect for cocktails (think mango mezcal margarita) on the deck or terrace. SALE. WAS $75 USD. BUY IT NOW $59 USD. 

10. Zinacantan, Chiapas Chal (shawl)

10.  SOLD. Zinacantan is the flower capital of Chiapas, exporting as far away as the Yucatan and Mexico City. Their love of flowers translates to all things clothing, ceremonial and daily wear, for men and women and children. The Chal is the necessary accessory and reflects a woman’s status (the more flowers, the more expensive) and aesthetics. Color and design popularity change each year. Sometimes we can find an outstanding barely worn chal like this one in the Sunday market. Fabric is cotton/poly blend with machine stitched embroidery. Measures 21-3/4″ wide x 46″ long. $125 USD.

Wear it. Drape it over the back of a chair. Use it as a bed throw. Make it into a pillow. Hang it. Add sparkle and a lasting bouquet to your living area.

I am constantly acquiring the hand-work of Mexican artisans. Mostly because I love and appreciate their talent, because I enjoy showing that appreciation when I visit their homes and workshops by buying something despite the fact that I don’t need it! I rarely bargain, paying what they ask. I know that hours of work goes into making a garment or a piece of jewelry.

Sometimes I overdo it! Hah. That’s when I take to the blog and offer these to you.

Of course, you can come with me to

Chiapas in February 2019 and do your own shopping!

Dye from Murex Snails Colors Ancient Cloth Blue and Purple

Writing from Santa Fe, NM: I’m staying at the house of my textile designer friend Norma Cross, who creates felted fiber clothing using natural dyes, wool, silk, and cotton.

An array of natural dyes, including caracol and indigo, used to weave cloth

I brought with me a shirt made on the Oaxaca coast with threads colored purple from the caracol purpura dye. That led her to send me this article about the Phoenician history of harvesting the purple snail and dyeing religious and political garments with snail ink.

Linking Ancient Snails to Common Threads in Israel Today

Indigo, cochineal and caracol purpura huipil, Pinotepa de Don Luis

This process is still in practice today in Oaxaca, Mexico, along the Pacific Coast. The murex snail is now extinct in Morocco where the Phoenicians plied the waters during the Roman Empire. It is extinct now in most places around the world. There is a revival in Israel where the natural blue color is being used for religious garments as it once was in the 8th century.


Preservation of the snail and it’s priceless ink is alive and well in Oaxaca. Yet, the risk of extinction is high because of poaching. I hear that the resort hotels in Huatulco make a special cocktail using the purple snail. They buy the dye from people who illegally harvest it. And, people are unconscious consumers!

On our Textile Tour of Oaxaca’s Costa Chica, starting January 11, 2019, we will see some glorious handwoven cotton fabrics where the supplementary weft and embroidered threads of the joinery use the rare purple dye. The pieces are created in two neighboring villages, San Juan Colorado and Pinotepa de Don Luis, where we will visit artisans and see how they prepare the native cloth.

I hope you can join us.

Questions? Please contact me.

 

Omar’s Discovery Tour: A First Visit to the USA

Omar Chavez Santiago is twenty-four years old. He is a weaver and natural dyer from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico. Last year, he graduated with a degree in industrial engineering after studying for four years at Anahuac University in Oaxaca. He is at a cross-roads.

Fayetteville, Lillington, Coats, NC friends give Omar a warm welcome in Durham. Thanks Becky, Robin and Debbie for your support.

Does he pursue a professional engineering career and move to Monterrey or continue in the generations-old family tradition of his Zapotec culture?

On March 1, 2017, Omar went to Mexico City for an interview appointment at the US Embassy to follow-up on his visitor visa application to enter the USA. He is male. He is young. We didn’t know what his chances would be. Slim, I thought. Very slim. So few are allowed to enter.

I wrote my Congressman G.K. Butterfield ((D-NC) to ask if they would send a message and alert the Embassy staff that Omar would be there on March 1 to present a letter of invitation from me and Wendy Sease, owner of INDIO Durham. We invited him to give a presentation and sale of the family’s 100% naturally dyed wool rugs in early April.

List to this GistYarn Podcast with Omar Chavez Santiago

Omar, age 24, has been weaving since he was eight years old.

An alert is different from a request to approve. No one interferes with US Embassy immigration decisions. An alert just says, Look out for this applicant. I guess they did. At the end of the short interview, Omar was awarded a 10-year visa. Ojala.

Discovering La Superior Carneceria y Super Tienda, Durham

Three weeks later, the paperwork arrived in Teotitlan del Valle, and Omar arrived in Durham, North Carolina on March 28.

I started calling this Omar’s Discovery Tour because everything was new to him. Exciting. Inspiring. Being here gave him the chance to see that what Galeria Fe y Lola creates in Oaxaca is linked to the home goods fashion cycle in the USA, where most of their clients come from. It connected the dots.

A walk through Duke University with Jacob and Hettie.

He discovered that design and color preferences change according to season. Texture and palette compliment. He saw traditional and contemporary side-by-side. He saw cities and farmland. Innovation and comfort. The edges where his countrymen and women live beyond the chi-chi neighborhoods, shopping in grocery stores named La Superior Carneceria or Compare or Tienda Mexicana Guadalupana, where life is familiar and safe. He heard an earful about politics, leadership void and political discontent.

A walk through Duke Gardens with Jacob

Omar thinks we are organized, tidy, friendly, and open to opportunity. (Of course, we know this is NOT a universal truth in the USA.)

Lime bikes propagate in downtown Durham. Take a ride.

He likes that people here greet him with a smile, that cars stop for pedestrians, and he can ride a Lime Bike on the American Tobacco Trail all afternoon for a few dollars, followed by beer and bonding at Ponysaurus with Jacob and Kathryn. He likes that we recycle (some of us). And, he can put on his jogging shoes and run for miles on groomed paths and streets.

Wow, there are REALLY good goat tacos here, just like in Mexico

It got to the point after the first week that he could rank order the best hamburgers in Durham after tastings at many restaurants. In retail shops, he was invited to sit down in a comfy chair or sofa, offered refreshment, and an invitation to kibbitz informally. He saw that deep friendships can be formed well beyond the inner circle of family.

A talk and cochineal dye demo at Echoview Fiber Mill, Weaverville, NC

Then, we went to Asheville and Weaverville, where the fiber arts community welcomed Omar for a cochineal dye demonstration and exhibition. We ate at Buxton Hall Barbecue and White Duck Tacos, and walked the downtown going in and out of fine art and craft galleries. He was mesmerized by the creativity. We slept in a cozy Arts & Crafts Cottage on the Blue Ridge Parkway hosted by Laura and Bryan.

100% naturally dyed churro wool rugs from Galeria Fe y Lola

Omar began to imagine that his dreams could become a reality. He began building new dreams. By the time he went home on Saturday morning after almost three weeks here, he was excited and inspired to create new designs, incorporate new business ideas, capture on cloth that which captured his imagination, and incorporate elements of traditional Zapotec motifs with new energy.

I wish we could give this opportunity to other talented young Mexicans who have dreams, who want to create and add value to their country.

Making the presentation at Echoview Fiber Mill, in collaboration with Local Cloth

Cochineal dye demonstration at Echoview Fiber Mill

I feel much this way when I go to Mexico. I see that families are tightly knit, where ancient ritual gives meaning to life, how reverence for the elderly shapes  continuity, how people take time to be with families and celebrate together.

Art at the Durham Museum Hotel

Travel broadens and opens us up to more than new experiences. It gives us something intangible, a new neural pathway to exploration, learning, becoming. It gives us an opportunity to befriend, to connect and to live expansively with meaning.

Taking a break at Ponysaurus Brewing Company, Durham

It was twelve-and-a-half years ago when I met Omar’s brother Eric and sister Janet in the Teotitlan del Valle rug market. They were both students, not knowing where their paths would lead. Omar was not quite twelve. Through mutual support and effort, our lives were changed.

Thanks to all who supported Omar with a purchase!

Laura and her family with Omar in Asheville

There are many people to thank for making Omar’s Discovery Tour possible: parents Federico Chavez Sosa and Dolores Santiago Arrellenas in Teotitlan del Valle; Wendy Sease, Hettie Johnson, Jacob Singleton, Kathryn Salisbury, Karen Soskin, Steve Haskin, Nick and Rochelle Johnson in Durham; Laura and Bryan Tompkins, Judi Jetson with Local Cloth, Grace Casey-Gouin at Echoview Fiber Mill in Asheville and Weaverville, and our friends everywhere.  Thank you.

We are talking now about when he may return.

 

Mexico Trunk Show Going to Asheville, Last Day in Durham, North Carolina

INDIO Durham — Final Day Today, 1-5 pm

We have had a successful show at INDIO Durham, thanks to owner Wendy Sease and our many NC friends. This is our last day, so if you live around the NC Triangle please stop by to say hello. We have many beautiful things to show you.

We go to Asheville on Wednesday to show Omar Chavez Santiago the North Carolina mountains. There is a rich Appalachian weaving and spinning tradition in these parts and many makers who are creating beautiful cloth. It’s Omar’s first US visit. Miraculously, he got a 10-year visa!

On Thursday, April 12, we will be at Echoview Fiber Mill in Weaverville, NC, to show beautiful hand-woven, hand-spun wool rugs colored with natural dyes from Galeria Fe y Lola in Oaxaca. I will have a collection of Mexico clothing and jewelry for sale, too.

Please Share!

Omar is 24 years old, born and raised in the Zapotec rug weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, and is a fluent English speaker. His family has worked in 100% natural dyes for over 20 years. He just graduated from university with a degree in industrial engineering and his love is for creating innovative designs that reflect his ancient 8,000 year old culture is embedded in the cloth.

He thinks the people here are very kind, and he especially appreciates that pedestrians have the right of way. Every chance he gets, he will order a hamburger. He is running an algorithm on the best burger in Durham, NC.

Ancient Zapotec temple stone, Teotitlan del Valle Community Museum