Tag Archives: art

Jess Schreibstein Writes About Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca Weaving Workshop at Fringe Association

Fringe is a common thread for knitters, weavers, sewers and textile artists around the world. It’s a metaphor for finishing the edge, binding off, completion and embellishment.

Here’s what Jess wrote in Fringe Association, a blog for knitters.

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Jess wove this tepete (rug) in four days! A traditional Zapotec feather pattern with naturally dyed wool: cochineal, moss, wild marigold.

Jess Schreibstein came to Oaxaca for a wedding in May.  She wanted to experience something special beyond the wedding celebration.  So she contacted us about taking a four-day Oaxaca Weaving Workshop: Dancing on the Loom with Federico Chavez Sosa and his wife, Lola, in Teotitlan del Valle.

A writer, artist, photographer, cook and founder of the D.C. Food Swap, Jess asked for customized dates that would fit into her travel schedule.  We were happy to make this arrangement for her that included lodging and meals at a local guesthouse.

Here’s what Jess wrote to me about her experience:

I want to thank you personally for organizing such a wonderful trip to Teotitlan and my workshop with Federico.  It was one of the richest weeks of my life, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity that you provided.  Thank you!

twitter: @jschreibstein
instagram: @thekitchenwitch
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If you would like a customized weaving workshop to fit into your travel schedule, please contact us!

 

Art Huipil Mixed Media Workshop Retreat: Explore Your Inner Artist

A  perfect mixed-media art workshop for a getaway in Oaxaca, Mexico! With artist/instructor Lena Bartula. Arrive January 8 and depart January 14. 6 nights and 7 days to explore your inner artist. All-levels, including non-artists, welcome.

Un Fruto Prohibido

The Mesoamerican huipil is an indigenous garment, similar to a blouse. It is woven on the back-strap loom by and for women throughout Mexico and central America, important long before the Spanish conquest. It survives today as an article of clothing that symbolizes womanhood, and identifies origins, family and village lineage.  It serves to conceal and protect, yet its patterns and designs speak and reveal much about the individual creator, her experiences, beliefs and perspectives.

During this five-day workshop retreat, you will be in residence in the indigenous Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico, where we explore the traditional meaning of the huipil and reinterpret it for a contemporary context. You will use this article of clothing as a metaphor for social and cultural identity, power of place, and express your inner artist by creating something that is distinctively yours — to hang or display, rather than to wear.

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In the process of making this mixed-media art, you will review your own personal path, the journeys you have taken, the stories you remember, people you know and have shaped you, and form the stories to tell for the future. The huipil becomes your mechanism for self-expression and storytelling. As human beings, we may share similar paths or those that run parallel, intersect or diverge. Life paths digress, slow, stall, explode, or keep a steady state. By participating in this workshop retreat, the experience sparks memory and inspiration to create.

You are encouraged to dream, remember, anticipate, then use an array of materials to construct the huipil. Your huipil may be made of cloth, paper, fabric or a combination, or constructed of something else entirely! You might choose to decorate it with ribbon, buttons, photos, stitching, collected objects, memorabilia, scraps. You may create a literal or abstract interpretation. There is no right or wrong way.

Artist/instructor Lena Bartula will present historical reference and her own personal experiences about the huipil.  She will discuss why she believes that, as both art form and as clothing, the huipil is the perfect container for artful self-expression.

The Program

Day 1: Thursday, January 8: Arrive and check into our Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca B&B. Enjoy a relaxed evening around the outdoor kitchen where our home cook prepares fresh quesadillas with local, organic ingredients.

Day 2, Friday, January 9: We join in an opening circle with welcome, introductions, and workshop overview, then hear a presentation on huipiles, their history and tradition, then see contemporary examples, including the work of the teacher and other artists. We will discuss themes, how story-telling brings alive the concepts, and share ideas from which we will begin our work. After a lunch break, we will visit the community museum and/or artisan workshops for inspiration.

Day 3, Saturday, January 10: We will review and talk about what we found or learned on the first day, then begin to layout the materials and supplies to choose what we will use, and start creating preliminary sketches and designs for the huipil. Lena will demonstrate design options, gluing techniques, collage application, painting and stitching. After lunch, you will being the huipil making process.

Day 4, Sunday, January. 11: Field trip! We go to the Tlacolula market, a scavenging adventure to collect more ideas and materials, look for a wide range of representative examples of huipiles on display that come from throughout Oaxaca state and surrounding areas. The market is a great place to familiarize yourself with huipil shapes, textures, designs and colors of “the cloud people” as the Zapotecs call themselves. It’s also your best shopping adventure! After a market lunch, we return to our B&B, then gather for dinner and talk about the best of the day discoveries.

Day 5, Monday, January 12:  Back in the studio, we will talk about what we found at the market and decide what to and how to add them our art huipil constructions. You will continue working with access to Lena’s expertise and coaching, with more personalized instruction and demonstrations as needed. After lunch, it’s continuing to work on your project in the studio.

Day 6, Tuesday, January 13: Today you put the finishing touches on your art huipil as you work toward completing the project by mid-afternoon. After lunch, we will have a group show and tell, presentation where you will have the optional opportunity to talk about your project, how it developed and evolved. Then, it’s photo time to capture the workshop in an inspiring place with new friends. At dinner, we will wrap up with a grand finale celebration.

Day 7: Wednesday, January 14: We say our goodbyes and depart for home after breakfast.

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What to Bring: Materials List

  • Copies of photographs, found objects or treasured memorabilia
  • Favorite art supplies, ie; paints, pencils, markers, tissue paper, scissors, brushes, specialty papers
  • Apron or work shirt
  • A sturdy, large cardboard envelope, portfolio or tube to transport your art huipil home

 Materials we provide:

  • The huipil structure itself – you can choose canvas or paper or cloth or a combination
  • A selection of ephemera and specialty papers
  • Needles and thread, glue, wire
  • Scraps of cloth, yarn, reeds

We’ll stitch, glue, wire, draw, collage and paint until your personal art huipil is complete and ready to go home with you.

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In creating our own huipil, we talk about using it as a container, where acceptance, forgiveness and transformation have a place to co-exist.

About LENA BARTULA

A visual artist for more than thirty-five years, Lena Bartula moved from Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2004 to Mexico, where she lives and works full-time in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. Her repertoire includes painting, installation, printmaking, constructions, book arts and mixed media, as ‘autobiographical symbolist abstraction.’

Lena’s art often combines imagery and pattern, textured layers, and words or letters in English or Spanish, inspired by her own poetry or that of other writers. The huipil, an indigenous blouse in the Mayan and Aztec tradition, called her attention to the ‘why’ of writing one’s personal and collective history in symbols. Out of this was born a series of contemporary huipiles, a tribute to women whose voices and visions have historically been silenced or suppressed.

As a conceptual artist, she creates most of her work from an original idea, and after much deliberation and research, chooses her materials and techniques accordingly. The relationship of words, like text and textile, are instrumental in formulating ideas, and although technically she is neither a weaver nor paper maker, these traditional crafts play a major role in her work on this series. Sewing has become a method of ‘weaving together’ ideas, and Bartula has been known to stitch disparate materials such as leaves, maps, plastic and corn husks.

She considers art making as a way to speak of beauty, truth, spirit, joy, pain, justice, everything that this human life entails. Her works are shown in museums and galleries throughout the world, in her San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, studio/gallery, and are found in collections in France, Italy, Great Britain, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Guatemala and Mexico.

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What Past Participants Say About Lena Bartula

“At first I worried that I wouldn’t be able to come up with ideas, but once I let my mind relax and opened it to all the possibilities that the materials offered, the ideas and the work flowed along. Lena is so helpful with suggestions, and I love her style of teaching.”  - Irene 

“I have wanted to work with Lena for many years now and was thrilled when she announced the Huipil Workshop. What a pleasure to work for two days with others making personal art. Between the surroundings and Lena’s supportive, guiding presence my vision for what might be was surpassed. YES!” –Patricia 

“After signing up I found myself very occupied remembering my entire life and mentally searching for ways to represent it tangibly. Gathering my materials, I traveled to Mexico from Guatemala, and what a joy! Lena is a gentle inspiration as a workshop leader and a lovely person. The group was compatible as we all worked and talked and shared. And each of us had a rewarding and big start on the final image we created at the workshop to take home.” –Judy 

“I was lucky to hear about Lena’s workshop in time to attend and enjoyed every minute in her particular and beautiful world of visual art. Working with new materials and concepts I learned to expand my creative horizons and now feel inspired to take risks, think way outside my various boxes and deeply contemplate my creative path.” –Kathleen

Cost to Participate:

  • $895 per person double occupancy, shared bath
  • $1,195 per person single occupancy, private bath

(Note: Non-residential tuition offered at $765 per person for local daily commuters. This option does not include daily lodging, breakfast or dinner.)

Workshop Retreat includes: all instruction, some materials as specified in the daily schedule, 6 nights lodging, 6 breakfasts, 6 dinners.

Your registration fee does NOT include airfare, taxes, admissions to museums and archeological sites, tips, liquor/alcoholic beverages, lunches, transportation, and insurance.

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About Our Workshops, Retreats and Programs.  We offer educational programs that are hands-on, fun, culturally sensitive, and offer you an immersion experience.   Our workshop leaders are experts in their field, knowledgeable, have teaching experience and guide you in the learning process.  Our goal is to enhance your knowledge while giving you time to explore and discover.

About Lodging and Sense of Place: To keep this trip affordable and accessible, we stay in a local posada/guest house in Teotitlan del Valle. The food is all house made (including the tortillas), safe to eat and delicious. Vegetarian options are available.  Our workshop space is outdoors, al fresco, in the patio courtyard. We look over blooming bougainvillea to the mountain-tops beyond, There are walking and hiking trails, opportunities to visit local weavers and craft artisans, and plenty of time for reflection.

Insurance Required:  We require proof of international travel insurance that covers accidents, with $50,000 of emergency medical evacuation to the U.S.A. or your home country is required by all participants.  Thank you for your understanding.

Deposits, Reservations and Cancellations.  A 50% deposit is required to guarantee your spot.  The last payment for the balance due (including any supplemental costs) shall be paid by November 15, 2014.  We only accept payment with PayPal.  We will send you an invoice as soon as you tell us you are ready to register.

If cancellation is necessary, please notify us in writing by email.   After December 1, 2014, no refunds are possible; however, we will make every possible effort to fill your reserved space.  Your registration is transferable to a substitute.  If you cancel before November 15, we will refund 50% of your deposit.

To register or for questions, contact: normahawthorne@mac.com

Oaxaca Art + Archeology with Chiapas Add-On: Study Tour with Penland School of Crafts

Travel and learn with Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC in collaboration with Penland School of Crafts, one of the foremost centers for art and craft education in the United States. This is an unparalleled opportunity to study  folk art, craft and contemporary art of Oaxaca, with an option to extend your time to explore San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas and surrounding Maya villages.  An in-depth indigenous Mexico educational experience.

  • Registration Deadline: November 15, 2014
  • Only 12 spaces available!

Oaxaca–February 12-19, 2015: 7 nights and 8 days of cultural immersion and discovery! Archeology, food, contemporary and folk art, wood carving, pottery, weaving and Carnival celebrations. The best of the best! Starting at $3,285 double occupancy, includes lodging, most meals and transportation, and a tax-deductible $500 gift to Penland School of Crafts.  Single occupancy option: $3,695.

Every minute of the trip has been a teaching in every aspect.Most valuable to me has been sharing with you and learning so much!! – Elizabeth Steinvorth

Optional: Add-on Chiapas.  Depart Oaxaca on February 19, travel overnight from Oaxaca to San Cristobal de Las Casas on a luxury bus with reclining seats.  Arrive in Chiapas in time for breakfast,  textile talk and orientation walk!

Add-on Chiapas–February 20-25, 2015: 5 nights and 5 full days to explore the land of the Maya — archeology, textiles, traditional medicine, precious stones and jewelry making traditions.  We are based in San Cristobal de Las Casas at the crossroads of the Maya world, an international mountain town of outstanding beauty. Our host is luxurious boutique LaJoya Hotel. We offer two levels of accommodations there: Single occupancy Platinum-level luxe, $2,695. Single occupancy Gold-level luxe, $2,395. For double occupancy, we offer Bronze-level semi-luxe, $1,845 at a nearby hotel. Choose your comfort level!

Contact Norma Hawthorne by email to receive your registration form or get your questions answered.

Penland School of Crafts is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and was founded on the principles and values of preserving and promulgating the rich folk art traditions of the local culture. In keeping with these roots, we offer you a week-long study tour to explore the indigenous world of Oaxaca, Mexico, with a six-day add-on option to Chiapas, Mexico. Here art and craft have flourished for centuries.

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Oaxaca and Chiapas mountains are scattered with remote indigenous villages where amazing art is created in the tradition of the ancestors. Every piece has a back-story and is a testimony to the creativity and beauty that is Mexico today. We invite you to become a part of this exciting, personalized program.

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I have greater respect for the people and their talent and family values. Incredibly beautiful art work. – Lee Ellis

I know now that I can be comfortable and enjoy traveling where I do not speak the language. Some of my preconceived ideas about Mexico were incorrect. – Edna McKee

During our week together in Oaxaca, you will

  • discover or better know the 16th century Spanish colonial city of Oaxaca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • meet ceramic, textile, and wood-carving artists and artisans
  • meet contemporary artists in their studios and discover a vibrant international art scene
  • visit a Zapotec village where pre-Lenten Carnivale is celebrated with extravagant costumes and energetic revelry
  • spend the day in Ocotlan to better know the art of Rodolfo Morales
  • explore famed Zapotec archeological sites with an expert English-speaking guide
  • sample local cuisine during a cooking class with one of Oaxaca’s best known teachers
  • dine at some of Oaxaca’s greatest restaurants and meet the chefs
  • see Oaxaca like an insider through the eyes of Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator

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Oaxaca, Mexico Itinerary — February 12-19

Day 1: Thursday, February 12. Participants will travel independently from their home city and arrive at the Oaxaca, Mexico, international airport. If you come directly from Houston, you will clear customs and immigration in Oaxaca. If you connect through Mexico City, you will clear customs and immigration there before boarding your connecting flight to Oaxaca. We will send you a complete travel guide one month before the program date. When you give us your flight arrival information, we will arrange private transportation to meet you at the airport and bring you a short distance to our Oaxaca city B&B. If you arrive in time, meet us in the lobby at 8:00 p.m. for a light supper, if you wish. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Oaxaca.

Day 2: Friday, February 13. After breakfast, we will be transported along the Ocotlan Folk Art and Crafts Route to visit the home and museum of famed Oaxaca artist Rofolfo Morales, the lively weekly market where locals shop, and see the exquisite work of embroiderers, potters and sculptors.  A gala welcome dinner ends our day. (B, L, D)

Day 3: Saturday, February 14. The contemporary art scene in Oaxaca is considered by experts to be among the best in Mexico. We have arranged a day of meeting painters and lithographers in their studios to discuss and see their work, and learn more about Oaxaca’s rich art culture. In late afternoon, we depart for the weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle. Overnight at a family-owned guest house for a taste of the more humble village life. (B, D)

Day 4: Sunday, February 15. After a hearty, homemade breakfast, we go to the outstanding archeological sites of Mitla and Yagul, then visit the home studio of a master weaver who will demonstrate tapestry weaving on the two-harness pedal loom. You will see a natural dye demonstration and make your own cochineal-dyed silk scarf.  Then, we will visit a family who cultivates their own silkworms, hand-spins and dyes the silk, and then weaves it into stunning clothing. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle. (B, L, D)

Day 5: Monday, February 16. Following breakfast, we take a cooking class with one of Oaxaca’s outstanding cooking teachers. She will take us on a walking tour of the  market where we will shop for fresh ingredients, then work together with her guidance to prepare a delicious traditional repast that includes, of course, one of Oaxaca’s famous mole dishes and a mezcal tasting. After lunch, we return to Oaxaca by private van. (B, L)

Day 6: Tuesday, February 17.  It’s Fat Tuesday and Carnival Time in Oaxaca. The Mardi Gras costumed parade in the village of San Martin Tilcajete rivals pre-Lenten festivities around the world.  Join the locals who know what revelry is all about as we follow the king and queen of Carnival through village streets, dancing all the way. We will enjoy a delicious lunch together at a locally-owned restaurant before we return to Oaxaca. (B, L)

Day 7: Wednesday, February 18.  Archeology and artisanry is our focus as we visit famed master craftsmen in Atzompa, the pottery-making village, and Arrazola, the alebrije-making village where wood carvers and painters create fanciful mythical animals and replicate scenes of village life. You will see demonstrations and meet the grand masters of Oaxaca Folk Art.  Just outside of Oaxaca city lays the stunning and important Zapotec archeological site of Monte Alban. The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago considers this to be the finest example of social and government organization in Meso-america. Sturdy walking shoes and walking sticks encouraged! (B, L)

Day 8:  Thursday, February 19.  Some of you will depart Oaxaca and return to your homes.  Others will stay on with us to take the overnight luxury bus to Chiapas for the next leg of our adventure. (B)

Norma is not only knowledgeable, she is part of the local community. Her deep connection to the people made for a rich experience. – Jane Crowe

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$3,285 per person double occupancy. $3,685 for a single supplement. Includes $500 per person tax-deductible gift to Penland School of Crafts.

Register Today. Contact us to receive a registration form. Have Questions? Ask Norma Hawthorne at normahawthorne@mac.com

Chiapas, Mexico Itinerary — February 19-25

Day 1: Thursday, February 19.  Luxury overnight bus from Oaxaca to San Cristobal de Las Casas (B)

Day 2: Friday, February 20. Check in to our San Cristobal de Las Casas Hotel. At breakfast, we will meet a local expert who will talk about Maya textiles and Chiapas textile traditions. Then we’ll take a walking cultural orientation tour of the compact, pedestrian-friendly city.  After a group lunch, you will have time to recharge before we visit folk-healer Sergio Castro and his private museum.  Overnight SCDLC. (B, L, D)

Day 3: Saturday, February 21: During breakfast, we will introduce you to the history of ancient Maya jewelry design and adornment, visit the Jade and Textile museums, and enjoy a Market Meander after lunch. There is nothing so tantalizing as the outdoor crafts market in San Cristobal de Las Casas, where vintage and new textiles, clothing, home goods, clay sculpture, beadwork and lots more capture your senses. Overnight SCDLC. (B, L)

Day 4: Sunday, February 22: The magical indigenous church in San Juan Chamula blends Spanish Catholicism with local folk beliefs. After breakfast and a discussion about Maya mysticism, we will visit the church and local market, then stop at Zinacantan where colorful flowers grow in greenhouses and are the theme of intricately embroidered cloth that are sewn into skirts (faldas) and shawls (chals).  (B, L)

Day 5: Monday, February 23: Today, we study Chiapas archeology and documentary photography through the eyes of husband-wife explorers Frans Blom and Gertrude Duby-Blom, who worked with Maya Lacandon people starting in the 1920′s.  Their home museum, Na Bolom, the jaguar house, tells the story of early archeological work in Mexico. After an optional lunch at the museum cafe, you will have time to explore San Cristobal de Las Casas on your own. (B)

Day 6: Tuesday, February 24: The Maya archeological site of Tonina is not as well-traveled as nearby Palenque, but many say it is equally as stunning and outstanding treasures have been excavated there. This all-day adventure will take us from the mountain highlands to semi-tropical lowlands to explore this extraordinary site whose pyramids are the most vertical in the Maya world. And, yes, you can climb them! After a picnic lunch, we make our way back to SCDLC with a stop at the back-strap loom weaving village of Oxchuc where textiles are embellished in shimmering metallic threads.  Our study tour ends with a grand farewell dinner and many memories to share.  (B, L, D)

Day 7: Wednesday, February 25:  After breakfast, transfer from San Cristobal de Las Casas to Tuxtla Gutierrez to board your flights back to your home country.

Ready to Register? Contact Norma Hawthorne.

The entire time was so interesting and full of fun. So much we got to experience would never had happened if we had come on our own. Norma made all the difference with her knowledge and sensitivity of the culture, and all her local friends, who obviously adore her!!! – Lynn Nichols

About Norma Hawthorne. Norma started Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC in 2006 and began offering weaving and natural dyeing workshops in the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, where she now lives part of the year. Soon after, she expanded program offerings to include women’s creating writing, yoga, photography, and other forms of textile and fiber arts workshops. In 2011, she retired from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she raised $23 million for the School of Nursing, and directed the School’s marketing and communications. Before that, she had a 25-year career in higher education continuing education and marketing at Indiana University, The University of Virginia, and The George Washington University. Norma holds the B.A. in history from California State University at Northridge and the M.S. from The University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. A lover of indigenous textiles, Norma started weaving with naturally dyed wool in San Francisco, collected Amish Folk Art textiles which she recently donated to the Indiana State Museum, owned and operated a gourmet cookware shop and cooking school, and fell in love with Oaxaca arts and artisans when she first visited there in 2005. See Norma’s resume.

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This trip illustrates the value of having a local contact who has a passionate, personal interest and extensive knowledge abut a place, a subject and contacts with people. That’s what made the trip unique, dynamic, rich and transformative. It would not have been possible to have had this experience without Norma – and her energy, generosity and great spirit. Thank you so much! — Barbara Benisch

ReynaAmarilloMetate2 ReynaSaladIngredLodging/Accommodations. In Oaxaca, we have selected highly rated, elegant, upscale accommodations for you where we will spend five nights at Casa Las Bugambilias B&B.  We will also spend two nights at family-owned and operated guest house in Teotitlan del Valle to give you a flavor of humble village life.

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Oaxaca Study Tour Cost: The basic cost for the trip is $3,285. USD. This includes seven nights lodging shared occupancy with private bath, six breakfasts, four lunches, three dinners, transportation to/from airport and activities as noted in the itinerary, site entry fees, all instruction, and a $500 tax-deductible contribution to Penland School of Crafts.

  • OAX 1: Shared double room with private bath; $3,285.
  • OAX 2: Single Supplement, private room with private bath; $3,685.

Chiapas Study Tour Cost:  Three options available. Choose your comfort level. In Chiapas our luxury boutique La Joya Hotel, will host there. Here there are five single suites with king-size bed accommodations for Platinum and Gold-level travelers.  Double, shared rooms are in a nearby upscale colonial-style hotel.

  • CO1: $2,695. Platinum-level luxe single room, premium amenities
  • CO2: $2,395, Gold-level luxe single room, special amenities
  • CO3: $1,845, Bronze-level semi-luxe double occupancy share

The cost does NOT include airfare and related taxes, tips/gratuities, travel insurance, liquor/alcoholic beverages, and some meals as specified in the itinerary.

Please make your 50% deposit check payable to Norma Hawthorne, OCN-LLC and mail to Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC, c/o Jacob Singleton, 17052 Leslie Lane, Suite D, Huntington Beach, CA 92649 or tell us you want to pay by credit card and we will send you a PayPal invoice via email. PayPal transactions are online, safe and secure.

Dolores with Shadows Doug_03.2 DSC_0081.JPGReservations and Cancellations. Please understand that we make lodging and transportation arrangements months in advance of the program. Our hosts often require deposits or payments in full to guarantee reservations. If cancellation is necessary, please notify us in writing by email. After November 15, 2014, no refunds are possible; however, we will make every possible effort to fill your reserved space or you may send a substitute. If you cancel on or before November 15, we will refund 50% of your deposit.

We require that you take out trip cancellation, baggage, and $50,000 mimimum emergency medical evacuation insurance before you begin your trip, since unforeseen circumstances are possible.

Ready to Register? Tell Norma at normahawthorne@mac.com Have Questions? Ask Norma at normahawthorne@mac.com.

All the workshops were terrific, talented, committed, skilled and well-prepared, thoughtful and easy to work with, generous and passionate…I am inspired to go home and do more work. – Barbara Benisch

This program is produced by Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC in cooperation with Penland School of Crafts. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary and make substitutions as necessary.

A Word About How to Get There Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC, based in North Carolina, U.S.A., has offered arts workshops and cultural immersion experiences in Oaxaca, Mexico, since 2006. Many participants often travel independently to reach Oaxaca on a direct flight from the gateway city of Houston, Texas, on United Airlines. Other major U.S. airlines connect to AeroMexico in Mexico City, which offers several flights a day to Oaxaca. Delta operates a Code Share with AeroMexico. The international airport at Oaxaca is new, safe and clean, as is the Mexico City airport. Our trusted Oaxaca airport pick-up service will personally greet you as you depart from baggage claim.

Note: Tips may be given to your local guides, instructors, and service providers throughout the trip. The recommended tip is 50 pesos per day for each provider per person. Be sure to collect your belongings from your room and check the Safety Deposit Box. Have your Passport, Mexico Exit Visa, and Plane Tickets ready!  You must have at least six months remaining on a valid U.S. passport to enter Mexico.

Please Note: This is a working itinerary, is subject to change and may be modified as we confirm final details for the trip. Be assured that any changes made will only enhance the program and add to your total experience. Thank you for your understanding!

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Tour Puebla, Mexico: Cooking & Culture, From the Humble to the Divine

August 13-18, starting at $895 per person double occupancy–

  • Chiles en Nogada Cooking Class
  • Sumptuous Dinner Party in a Private Historic Home
  • Elegant Dining and Neighborhood Eating
  • Flea Market and Antique Shopping
  • Museums, Churches, Archeology, History

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Puebla, Mexico, is a short two hours from Mexico City by bus direct from the international airport. It is one of my favorite Mexican cities and I often stop here going to and from Oaxaca. It is the home of Talavera tile, Cinco de Mayo, Mole Poblano, chiles en nogada, and cemitas. It has a weekend antiques and flea market that draws crowds, gilded churches, Baroque architecture with pastel and tiled facades topped with white plaster meringue, great chefs, outstanding restaurants, and ancient archeological sites.  At 7,000 feet altitude, visitors enjoy moderate temperatures year ’round, even in summer!

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Your five night, 6-day visit includes:

  • 5 nights lodging in a lovely, highly rated historic center hotel
  • guided visits to famed, certified Talavera ceramics studios
  • visits to extraordinary museums like Museo Amparo
  • chiles en nogada cooking class in a private home featured in Mexicocina with market tour, and lunch
  • sumptuous candlelit dinner that evening presented by our cooking teachers/hosts
  • gourmet dining and neighborhood/market fare experiences
  • time on your own to explore the incredible weekend antique/flea market
  • in-depth visits to archeological and religious sites of Cholula and Tonantzintla
  • Plus, lots more.

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Puebla is Mexico’s fourth largest city, cosmopolitan without being overwhelming.  It is relaxed, accessible, and easily experienced in several days. Known as the ‘City of the Angels’” or Angelopolis, Puebla, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was founded in 1531 as a purely colonial Spanish city built from the ground up—not on top of an existing indigenous temple — at the trading crossroads between the port of Veracruz and Mexico City.  More than 5,000 Baroque-designed buildings date mostly from the 16th century and are covered in handcrafted Talavera.

 Talavera Reyna

Puebla is also about shopping! The highlight is Talavera pottery. And, there are many other local crafts: Tree of Life clay figures, bark paper paintings, woven and embroidered textiles from the Sierra Norte, red clay cooking vessels and dinnerware, and unique onyx and marble sculptures. You can find these and much more at the traditional markets, the stalls that line Puebla’s beautiful plazas, and at the weekend flea and antique market.

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Puebla is known throughout Mexico for its excellent cuisine, a blend of pre-Hispanic, Arabic, French and Spanish influences.  There are many outstanding Tesoros de Mexico-rated (Mexico’s highest) restaurants, and we’ll be dining at a few!

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We’ll also go to Cholula, an indigenous village just outside Puebla with the world’s widest ancient pyramid, Quetzalcoatl. The Spanish built the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de los Remidios with its amazing 24-carat gold basilica atop the pyramid.  On a clear day you can see snow-capped Popocatepetl, an active volcano, showing off his powerful plume.

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Preliminary Itinerary:

  • Day 1, August 13: Travel to Puebla, check-in to our historic center hotel
  • Day 2, August 14: Chiles en Nogada Cooking class with market tour & lunch, followed by sumptuous private dinner
  • Day 3, August 15: Cholula archeology site, Tonantzintla church, and Talavera de la Reyna ceramics
  • Day 4, August 16: Antiques and flea market, museums, market lunch
  • Day 5, August 17: Gallery hopping and shopping, fine dining
  • Day 6, August 18: Departure

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Our stops will include:

  • Antique market & Barrio del Artista
  • Museo Amparo
  • Talavera galleries and shops
  • Tonantzintla Templo de Santa Maria
  • La Purificadora Hotel, an architectural wonder, designed by Ricardo and Victor Legorreta
  • Uriarte and Talavera de la Reyna ceramics studios

We include private transportation on a day-trip to Cholula, Tonantzintla, and Talavera de la Reyna ceramics studios.

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Transportation to Puebla:  Puebla is easily accessed by Estrella Roja first class bus direct from the Benito Juarez International Airport (Terminal One and Terminal Two) and from Oaxaca on ADO.  If you are coming from the U.S. be sure to reserve your round trip air travel to/from Mexico City. When you register, we will give you complete “how to get there” information.

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What is Not Included:

  • meals, snacks, alcoholic beverages
  • entrance fees to local museums/attractions
  • transportation to/from Mexico City
  • transportation to/from Puebla
  • mandatory international health/accident insurance
  • tips for hotels, meals and other services 

Cost:

  • $895 per person double occupancy, shared room and bath
  • $1,195 per person single occupancy, private room and bath

Reservations and Cancellations

A 50% deposit will guarantee your spot.  The final payment for the balance is due on or before July 1, 2014.  Payment shall be made by PayPal.  We will be happy to send you an itemized invoice.

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Please understand that we make lodging and other arrangements months in advance of the program.  Deposits or payments in full are often required by our hosts.  If cancellation is necessary, please tell us in writing by email.   After July 1, no refunds are possible.  However, we will make every possible effort to fill your reserved space or you may send a substitute.  If you cancel on or before July 1, we will refund 50% of your deposit.  We ask that you take out trip cancellation, baggage, emergency evacuation and medical insurance before you begin your trip, since accidents happen.

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Required–Travel Health/Accident Insurance:  We require that you carry international accident/health/emergency evacuation insurance.  Proof of insurance must be sent at least two weeks before departure.  If you do not wish to do this, we ask you email a PDF of a notarized waiver of responsibility, holding harmless Norma Hawthorne and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.  Unforeseen circumstances happen!

To register, email us at  normahawthorne@mac.com.  If you have questions, send us an email. We accept payment with PayPal only. Thank you.

This workshop is produced by Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.  We reserve the right to modify the itinerary.

 

 

 

Where, What and When: My Last Three Weeks in Mexico

I haven’t posted much in the last three weeks and I’m sorry.  Some of you may be wondering about that. It began with our Looking for Diego Rivera Art History Tour in Mexico City three weeks ago.

Rivera1 The day we were set to gather for our first dinner together to launch our program, Suzie and Lydia were in a taxi crash.  Suzie has been in a coma ever since.  This has been an extraordinary difficult time for Suzie’s family, as we have reconstructed the accident and follow-up care. In the melee of getting her moved from a small, suburban clinic to a major Mexico City medical center that could handle her head injury, I lost my journal where I recorded every detail of her first clinic stay.

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The journal also held my notes about the great Mexican muralists Rivera, Orozco and  Siquieros, and the comprehensive Maya art exhibit at the Palacio Nacional.

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Then, as soon as I got back to Oaxaca, our weeklong Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat started. I have always participated in this program in addition to doing the administrative and logistical support. So, I was detoured from writing the blog, but plunged in to write about Suzie and my experience trying to help her get the care she deserved but didn’t get. It was a wonderful retreat and I produced several personal essays that I intend to publish. Add to this a deadline to close on a home mortgage, and I was covered up in details.

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The day this retreat ended, a weaving workshop began.  It has just ended, and I feel that now I have breathing space to take a look at the photos, tell you about the extraordinary murals we saw in public spaces, the Mayan art and civilization exhibit at the Palacio Nacional, and delicious food we discovered in elegant restaurants and humble markets.

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Suzie was evacuated to Georgetown Hospital. She opened her eyes briefly and we are hopeful. Yet, she remains in a coma. Her family has moved her to long-term care where she can get constant medical attention. When she improves, the next step will be to begin rehabilitation. We all send prayers for that day to come very soon.

Again, I remind all international travelers to please purchase health and accident insurance that includes medical emergency evacuation.  Accidents happen and none of us is immune.