Tag Archives: Embroidery

Shopping in San Antonino Castillo Velasco, Oaxaca

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!

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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 josemiguelgarcia2010@gmail.com

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Fortunately, I downloaded these into my computer before I lost my camera, so I’m able to share them with you.  Hope you enjoy.

Shop Mexico: The Artisan Sisters

Welcome to our new online store — Shop Mexico: The Artisan Sisters. We are sisters in real life, Norma Hawthorne and Barbara Beerstein.  We are passionate collectors and supporters of artists and artisans who express the creativity and vitality of Oaxaca and Mexico.  Textiles and folk art are our passion.  Because of this, we fall in love with people and what they create along our journey.  For us, it is as much about the people we connect with than what we are buying. Invariably, we usually come home with much more than what we need.

Today we feature huipils + blusas from Oaxaca, Chiapas and Puebla!

This is to your advantage!  Our prices our reasonable.  We ship fast.  We have already made the purchase and paid the artist. We believe in compensating people fairly and immediately for the beauty they create.  We offer the best quality because that is what we expect for ourselves.

Each week, starting today, we will list a few select pieces for sale on this blog!  Look for the Artisan Sisters in your inbox.  

Week 1 — Shop Mexico: The Artisan Sisters.

#1_51412, Collector Quality Huipil, Las Margaritas, Chiapas, handwoven, $195

Detail, Las Margaritas textile

#1_51412:  This extraordinarily detailed huipil from the Mayan indigenous village of Las Margaritas, in the Los Altos (highlands) of Chiapas, is a finely woven piece of highest quality cotton cloth created on the backstrap loom.  The design is integrated and woven into weft of the cloth; it is not embroidered.  Size is ample and would fit U.S. size 14-18 comfortably.  It has three webs across the front and three webs across the back, each securely hand-embroidered together.  The huipil is 29″ wide across the front armpit to armpit and 30″ long from the shoulder seam.

Contact us first to make sure the item you want is still available.  We accept PayPal and will send you an invoice after we calculate packing and shipping costs.

#2_51412: Blusa, Cuetzalan, Puebla, hand-embroidered bodice, $175


Detail of Cuetzalan blusa, #2_51412

#2_51412: Cuetzalan is in the Sierra Norte of the State of Puebla, four hours from the city of Puebla high in the mountains. The Artisan Sisters traveled there by public long-distance bus.  The women there embroider intricate patterns of wildlife and flowers onto panels of cotton which become part of washable cotton blouses that are gently gathered across the chest.  This blusa is a stunning, intricate design, with finely finished inside seams.  The bodice stitches are really tiny.  Every inch of the bodice and sleeve fabric is covered in handwork.  Neckline and sleeves have lovely crocheted trim. Width armpit to armpit across the front is 25″.  Length from shoulder seam to hem is 30.”  Neckline opening is 13″ wide.

#3_51412: Blusa, San Vicente Coatlan, $85

 

 

Detail, blusa, San Vicente Coatlan

#3_51412:  This Blusa (blouse) from San Vicente Coatlan, is one of the most beautiful I have seen in Oaxaca.  It has lots of punto de cruz cross stitch patterning in multi-colors covering the entire bodice, extending out the shoulders, and trimming the sleeve edge.  The back collar is also embellished with fine detail. I don’t know how they do it.  The gathers are all done by hand, too.  This is a KNOCK-OUT.  Width from armpit to armpit across the front is 27″ wide.  Length from shoulder seam to hem is 34″ long.  Sleeves are 20″ long from the shoulder seam.  Embroidered panels sewn onto manta cotton (washable).

Zapotec Fashionistas Know — It’s All in the Apron


Katie wrapped in apron and head scarf with market apron vendor

What does the stylish Zapotec woman wear?  Why, an apron, of course!  Aprons with ruffles, embroidery, scalloped detailing, lace, deep pockets and a secure button closure with waist tie are the ubiquitous fashion statement in the Tlacolula valley of Oaxaca.  The center of apron fashionistas is the Sunday Tlacolula Market.  There, an entire aisle is devoted to the apron and accompanying colorful headscarves.  Aprons come in all variations on the theme of checkered, gingham-like, cotton or cotton/poly blend fabric.  They can be simple straight edge or more complicated, heavily scalloped at the hemline and bodice.  Price depends upon complexity of style and amount of embroidery.  Aprons can be magical, embroidered with figures of birds, flowers, animals, and fruit.  The fancier the apron, the more it costs.

Polly chooses hers, and ...

Gringas like aprons, too.  After we buy ours and wear them, we get big smiles from the locals.  The fun is in the fashion show for each other, shopkeepers and passers-by. Almost like dress-up when we were girls :)  What’s amazing is that you can be wear any plain ‘ole thing underneath, and a great apron from Tlacolula just adds color, fun and spark to life.  When you come to a village in Oaxaca you will see that the apron is just part of everyday dressing.  For us, it’s a way to enjoy another dimension of Oaxaca.  Now, we are ready for cooking class!

Robin finds one that suits her at the local market in Teotitlan del Valle.

Helen loves this one with brown tones.