My sister and I set out for San Antonino Castillo Velasco, Oaxaca, to visit the potter Don Jose Garcia Antonino who makes life-size human figures sculpted from local red clay called barro rojo. We decided to go before everyone arrived for the wedding so that we could focus on the shopping day at hand. Barbara has been wanting to get one of Don Jose’s sculptures for years. She was set on getting one she could see eye-to-eye with. Yes, they are that big!
Jose Garcia Antonio‘s daughter dusts off the figure Barbara selected while his granddaughter watches us. He is featured in the recently published book, Grand Masters of Oaxaca. Calle Libertad No. 24, San Antonino Castillo Velasco. Telephone (951) 539-6473. email Jose Garcia’s son at email@example.com
San Antonino is mostly known for it’s intricate multi-colored embroidery with designs of flowers and birds that embellish blouses and dresses. The quality and amount of the embroidery plus the finish work determine the price of a garment that can range from 200 pesos to 6,000 pesos (that’s about $17 USD to $525 USD). The white on white version is known as the Oaxaca Wedding Dress.
Here at Artesanias Viki on Calle Libertad No. 1, (telephone 571-0092) sister Barbara models a manta (natural cotton) blusa with hot pink embroidery on the bodice. Dueña Virginia Sanchez de Cornelio and her daughters, also included in the Grand Masters of Oaxaca folk art book, have a stash of stunning blouses and dresses in all types of colors, sizes, intricacy of embroidery, and prices. Note the pansies and the little figures that make up the smocking on the bodice of the white dress. These can take six to nine months to embroider, we are told.
We probably spent an hour or more at the pottery studio and then a good hour-and-a-half with Señora Viki trying on clothes. Good thing we did this trip sola — just the two of us. After a lunch on the patio at Azucenas Zapoteca at the San Martin Tilcajete crossroads, we went to Mailboxes Etc. in Oaxaca city to pack and ship the girl, which Barbara nicknamed Viki!
San Antonino is just before you get to the town of Ocotlan de Morales, about 40 minutes beyond Oaxaca on the way to Puerto Angel. There’s a sign that directs you to turn right off the highway. It is beyond San Martin Tilcajete, the alebrijes village and Santo Tomas Jalieza, the backstrap loom weaving village. You can make a day of it along this route. Hire a taxi for 120-150 pesos per hour or take a collectivo for 10 pesos per person each way.
Our mode of transportation was trusty Teotitlan del Valle Sitio Zapoteco taxi driver Abraham. Running errands later in the day, we hopped on a moto-taxi which we call a tuk-tuk. Here’s a bit of pueblo scenery with Barbara profiled in the rear-view mirror!
Fortunately, I downloaded these into my computer before I lost my camera, so I’m able to share them with you. Hope you enjoy.