Tag Archives: fiber art

Chiapas Textiles + Folk Art Study Tour: Deep Into the Maya World

We are based in the historic Chiapas mountain town of San Cristobal de las Casas, the center of the Maya world in Mexico. Here we will explore the textile traditions of ancient people who weave on back strap looms. Women made cloth on simple looms here long before the Spanish conquest in 1521 and their techniques translate into stunning garments admired and collected throughout the world today. Colorful. Vibrant. Warm. Exotic. Connecting. Words that hardly describe the experience that awaits you.

Tuesday, February 14 to Wednesday, February 23, 2017, 9 nights and 10 days in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

Small group! Registration limited to 12 people.

Man from Zinacantan with hand-woven straw hat

Man from Zinacantan with hand-woven straw hat

I am committed to give you a rich cultural immersion experience that goes deep rather than broad. We cover a lot of territory, but it’s not physical! That is why we are spending nine nights in this amazing Pueblo Magico — Magic Town — to focus on Maya textiles and weaving traditions. Our day trips will take us into villages, homes and workshops to meet the people who keep their traditions vibrant. This is an interpersonal experience to better know and appreciate Mexico’s amazing artisans.

Humanitarian healer Sergio Castro with vintage textile collection

Humanitarian healer Sergio Castro with vintage textile collection

Take this study tour to learn about:

  • the culture, history and identity of cloth
  • spinning wool and weaving with natural dyes
  • clothing design and construction
  • symbols and meaning of textile designs
  • choice of colors and fibers that reflect each woman’s aesthetic while keeping with a particular village traje or costume
  • mystical folk medicine practices that blend Maya ritual and Spanish Catholicism
The church at San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico

The church at San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico, February

I have invited textile collector Sheri Brautigam to join me to give you a special, in-depth experience. Sheri writes the blog Living Textiles of Mexico and is recognized for her particular knowledge of Chiapas Maya textiles. She is author of the Thrums soon-to-be-published Textile Fiestas of Mexico: A Traveler’s Guide to Celebrations, Markets, and Smart Shopping. (I’ve contributed two chapters with photos, one for Tenancingo de Degollado and the other for Teotitlan del Valle!)

San Cristobal de las Casas, international crossroads of great food

San Cristobal de las Casas, international crossroads for great food

I have also engaged one of San Cristobal’s most well-informed local guides who will travel with us to provide bi-lingual services for understanding the nuances in translation. We will travel in a luxury Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van as we go deep into the Maya world.

Daily Itinerary

Tuesday, February 14: Meet me at the Mexico City Airport. We will fly together from Mexico City to Tuxtla Gutierrez and transfer to San Cristobal de las Casas (SCDLC) by pre-arranged van service together. I will let you know which airline/flight to book and meet you at the Mexico City airport as soon as you register. If you prefer to not coordinate air travel, please make your own arrangements to get from Tuxtla to SCDLC. Arrive in time for group dinner at 7 pm. (D)

Textiles from the village of Cancuc

Textiles from the weaving villages of Cancuc and Oxchuc

Wednesday, February 15: Our first day in San Cristobal de las Casas orients you to the Textiles in the Maya World. You will learn about weaving and embroidery traditions, patterns and symbols, women and villages, history and culture. After a breakfast discussion we will visit Centro Textiles Mundo Maya museum, Sna Jolobil for the finest regional textiles made, and meander the Santo Domingo outdoor market that takes over the plaza in front of the church. We will then guide you along the walking streets to get your bearings. (B, L) Dinner on your own.

Embroidered blouse from Amantenango

Embroidered blouse from Amantenango

Thursday, February 16:  Tenejapa is about an hour and a world away from San Cristobal de Las Casas. Today is market day when villagers line the streets filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and often textiles. We’ll meander the market to see what’s there. In years past, I’ve found some stunning shawls, huipils and bags here. Then, we will visit the outstanding textile cooperative founded by Doña Maria Meza Giron who founded the Sna Jolobil cooperative. We’ll also stop in Romerillo to see the larger than life pine-bough covered Maya blue and green crosses. Return to San Cristobal de Las Casas in time for dinner on your own. (B, L)

Hand carved colonial wood detailing on doorway arch

Hand carved colonial wood detailing on doorway arch

Friday, February 17:  Today is a walking day, devoted to visiting textile cooperatives in San Cristobal de las Casas. You will learn about international collaborations and textile design that conserves traditions while meeting marketplace needs for exquisite and utilitarian cloth. In the early evening, we visit Museo de Trajes Regionales and humanitarian Sergio Castro, who has a large private collection of Maya indigenous daily and ceremonial dress representing each Chiapas region. (B, D)

Clay and wood carved artifacts

Clay and wood carved artifacts

Saturday: February 18: Amantenango del Valle and Aguacatenango to see the whimsical and functional wood and dung fired pottery – the way its been done for centuries. Wonderful roosters, spotted jaguar sculptures and ornamental dishes. This is a textile village, too, where women embroider garments with designs that look like graphic art. We’ll travel to neighboring Aguacatenango, to visit a well-known embroiderer who has won many awards. (B, L) Dinner on your own.

Whimsical Amantenango chicken pots

Whimsical Amantenango chicken pots

Sunday, February 19: This is a big day! First we go to San Lorenzo Zinacantan, where greenhouses cover the hillsides. Here, indigenous dress is embellished in exquisite floral designs, mimicking the flowers they grow. First we visit the church, bedecked in fresh flowers. Then we’ll meet weavers and embroiderers in their home workshops. Next stop is magical, mystical San Juan Chamula where the once-Catholic church is given over to a pre-Hispanic pagan religious practice that involves chickens, eggs and coca-cola. We’ll roam Chamula’s abundant textile market, compare and contrast fabrics and designs, then visit the home workshop of a Chamula woman in her village outside of town who will give us a full demonstration that includes spinning, back strap loom weaving, dyeing, and the unique Chamula process for making the long-haired tunics. (B, L) Dinner on your own.

At the textile museum, an outstanding collection

At the textile museum, an outstanding collection of Maya weaving

Monday, February 20: We will set out by foot after breakfast for a full morning at Na Balom, Jaguar House, the home/of anthropologist Franz Blom and his photographer wife, Gertrude Duby Blom. The house is now a museum filled with pre-Hispanic and jewelry collections. We walk the gardens and learn about Trudy’s work with the Lacandon tribe and relationship with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. After lunch at Na Balom, you will have the afternoon and evening on your own. (B, L)

Jaguar pot, Amantenango, Chiapas

Jaguar pot, Amantenango, Chiapas

Tuesday, February 21: Today, we want to give you enough time to know and discover San Cristobal de Las Casas. We will suggest destinations to explore on your own: the Maya Medicine MuseumJade Museum, Chocolate Museum, and Coffee Museum. We can also recommend an optional cooking class with one of the city’s top chefs and make those arrangements for you in advance for an added cost. You may want to use your time to explore the town’s wonderful churches, learn about the Zapatista movement, revisit textile shops or just stroll the lively walking streets stopping for a great cup of Chiapas coffee and people watching. A surprise artisan demonstration, show and sale may pop-up sometime during the day, too. (B)

The best of the best vintage from San Andres Larrainzar, Chiapas

The best vintage from Magdalenas, Chiapas — if you can find it, buy it.

Wednesday, February 22: Men from Magdalena Aldama who weave bags made from ixtle, agave cactus leaf fiber, join us at our hotel after breakfast. Accompanying them are the women who make flashy beaded necklace strings and beautiful hand-woven huipils. Afternoon is on your own to do last minute shopping and packing in preparation for your trip home. We end our study tour with a gala group goodbye dinner. (B, D)

San Juan Chamula Sunday market

San Juan Chamula Sunday market in February

Thursday, February 23: Depart. We will coordinate departures with included van service from San Cristobal de las Casas to the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport. You will connect from Tuxtla to Mexico City and then on to your home country. Please wait to make you airplane reservations until you hear from us about van departure time.

What Is Included

  • 9 nights lodging at a top-rated San Cristobal de las Casas hotel within easy walking distance of the historic center
  • 9 breakfasts
  • 6 lunches
  • 3 dinners
  • museum and church entry fees
  • luxury van transportation
  • outstanding and complete guide services
  • transfers to/from Tuxtla Gutierrez airport

The workshop does NOT include airfare, taxes, tips, travel insurance, liquor or alcoholic beverages, some meals, and local transportation as specified in the itinerary.  We reserve the right to substitute instructors and alter the program as needed.

Cost

  • $2,395 double room with private bath (sleeps 2)
  • $2,795 single room with private bath (sleeps 1)

There will be a sign-up in advance for a cooking class on Tuesday, February 21. Please let me know if you are interested in this option. Cost to be announced.

Home goods from Chiapas textile cooperative

Home goods from Chiapas textile cooperative

Who Should Attend

  • Textile and fashion designers
  • Weavers, embroiderers and collectors
  • Home goods wholesalers/retailers who want a direct source
  • Photographers and artists who want inspiration
  • Anyone who loves cloth, culture and collaboration

In years past, I have purchased lengths of used hand-woven ikat Maya skirt fabric to repurpose into clothing and upholstery.

Reservations and Cancellations.  A 40% deposit is required to guarantee your spot. The balance is due in two equal payments. The first 30% payment is due on or before October 15, 2016. The second 30% payment is due on or before December 31, 2016. We accept payment with PayPal only. We will send you an itemized invoice when you tell us you are ready to register. After December 31, 2016, refunds are not possible. You may send a substitute in your place. If you cancel on or before December 31, 2016, we will refund 50% of your deposit.

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Detail of cross-stitched bodice, called punto de cruz

Required–Travel Health/Accident Insurance:  We require that you carry international accident/health/emergency evacuation insurance. Proof of insurance must be sent at least 30 days before departure.  In addition, we will send you by email a PDF of a witnessed waiver of responsibility, holding harmless Norma Schafer and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.  We ask that you return this to us by email 30 days before departure. Unforeseen circumstances happen!

Workshop Details and Travel Tips.  Before the workshop begins, we will email you study tour details and documents that includes extensive travel tips and information. To get your questions answered and to register, contact Norma Schafer.

This retreat is produced by Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We reserve the right to make itinerary changes and substitutions as necessary.

Old woven ixtle bag used to hold pulque or lunch

Old woven ixtle bag used to hold pulque or lunch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nuno Felt Fashion Workshop 2015: Clothing Design with Pre-Hispanic Flair

Escape winter, roll up your sleeves, and make a nuno felted wool garment you will be proud to wear. For seven nights and eight days, from January 17 – 24, 2015, you will experience the textile culture of Oaxaca, make wearable fiber art from felt fabric, learn about natural dyes and the process to make them, and explore the textile workshops of local artisans.  In January 2014, we welcomed Californians, Canadians, and Brazilians! What they made is featured here.

Beginners and experienced felters are welcome.

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We use comfortable, unstructured, easy to wear, easy-to-construct , yet elegant indigenous Mexican patterns to show off your design creativity.  If you aren’t confident, don’t worry! The place itself is an inspiration.

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Maddalena Forcella is our expert instructor for 2015.  She is a fiber artist-clothing designer born in Italy where fashion is part of one’s DNA. Maddalena came to Mexico over 20 years ago to study textile design and never left. She is joined by Eric Chavez Santiago from Oaxaca, who will demonstrate the natural dye process using locally sourced plants and cochineal. 

About Your Instructors 

Maddalena Forcella is an internationally renown fiber textile artist whose work has been exhibited in Rome, Los Angeles, Antigua, Guatemala, Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Her clothing is sensual and substantial. She studied at the National Museum of Modern Art in Rome, Italy, and the University of Iberoamericana in Mexico City.  For many years, Maddalena has been working with indigenous women in Oaxaca and Chiapas states to preserve natural dye traditions, leading women’s textile projects with the support of private funds. She is committed to indigenous culture and sustainable development.

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Eric Chavez Santiago is a one of Mexico’s most knowledgeable authorities on natural dye sources, chemistry, and production.  He has taught natural dyeing techniques in Oaxaca and at U.S. universities and museums since 2006.  He is a graduate of Anahuac University and is director of education for one of Mexico’s leading arts and cultural organizations.

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I attended the workshop in 2013. Wow! The village of Teotitlan is an experience in itself and will immerse you in a totally different and vibrant world. The B&B and especially the meals were awesome and conversation around the table with other workshop participants was totally fun and absorbing — a bunch of creative, independent and feisty women! And, you can’t lose — even I made several shawls I’m very proud to wear. Highly recommended! –Leslie Larson 

Our Itinerary

Working with Maddalena daily from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in our outdoor studio, we will create lengths of felted nuno fabric enough to make a garment design of your choice.  You might decide to felt on silk or cheesecloth to make a lighter weight and beautifully draping fabric. After your fabric is dry, you will have the option to cut and sew it into one of several indigenous Oaxaca styles: the huipil (tunic), the blusa (blouse), rebozo (shawl), boufanda (scarf) or quechequemitl (cape), or modify the basic pattern into a design of your own.  We give you patterns to adapt to your own body.

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This workshop is for all levels of experience!  You do not have to be an artist or experienced felt-maker to attend.  We welcome beginners who have never worked in wet felting and more advanced fiber artists. This is a perfect residency for university students, teachers and artists who may want to explore a different medium, too.

We are based in the weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle where for generations families have created wool textiles.  During our time together, we will go on local field trips to gain design inspiration, and meet and talk with weavers who work with natural dyes.  Some weave wool fabric for wearable art as well as sturdier floor and wall tapestries.  We will see examples of the types of garments that can be created from the felted fabric we make.

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Supplies to bring (preliminary list).  After you register we will send you a list of supply sources where you can buy the workshop materials to bring:

  • Cotton cheesecloth, preferably pre-colored, 5 to 6 yards or more
  • Silk chiffon, your favorite colors, at least 5 to 6 yards
  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of merino wool, preferably naturally dyed, in your favorite colors
  • Raw silk and/or wool fleece locks for texture and interest
  • Sewing kit: sharp scissors, needles, threads, tailor chalk 
  • Optional embellishments: beads, sequins, buttons, ribbons, embroidery thread, yarn, etc.

Note: We will provide the bubble wrap, soap, sponges, buckets, work tables, and other necessities for the process.

What is included in your registration fee:

  • all instruction
  • 7 nights lodging
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 6 dinners
  • pattern booklet and natural dye recipes
  • sewing machine to share with needles, thread
  • selected embellishments, yarns, threads
  • guided visit to Oaxaca textile museum and galleries 

Workshop is limited to 8 participants.

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Daily Workshop Schedule:  Arrive Sunday, January 18 and leave Sunday, January 24.   7 nights and 8 days with options to extend your visit. 

Day 1, Saturday, January 17 – Arrive and settle in to your bed and breakfast posada in Teotitlan del Valle (we send directions)

Day 2, Sunday, January 18 – Welcome, introductions, Tlacolula Market Visit for inspiration and to source local embellishments, afternoon natural dye demonstration with Eric Chavez Santiago.  (B, L, D)

Day 3, Monday, January 19 – Jump right in to make samples with silk and cheesecloth to understand the process. We will make an actual mini- scarf during this session, as well as fabric samples. (B, D)

Day 3, Tuesday, January 20 – Take a morning field trip to the village market and church for pattern inspiration from the local environment. Visit a local weaver.  After lunch we will work on designs using inspiration from the morning studies. (B, D)

Day 4, Wednesday, January 21 – After a visit to a local weaver,  you will  start on making larger pieces of felt for your final project/garment. (B, D)

Day 5, Thursday, January 22 – Finish completing your felted fabric. In the afternoon we will demo the art of making felt flowers. (B, D)

Day 6, Friday, January 23 —  Cut, sew and embellish your project. We will have a Show and Tell with Fashion Photo Shoot before our final celebration dinner. (B, D)

Day 7, Saturday, January 24 – Departure (B)

(This is a preliminary daily schedule and subject to modification.)

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Note: Vest design shown is by Jessica de Haas, FunkShui Studio, 2014 Felt Fashion Workshop instructor.

Workshop Fee:

Option 1:   $1,295 double occupancy basic cost per person includes shared room and bath, double occupancy.

Option 2:  Single occupancy with private bath, $1,595

Extension Options: 

Add-On 1:  Arrive Friday, January 16 and take a Zapotec cooking class on Saturday, January 17.  Includes one night lodging, breakfast, lunch, cooking class and recipes.  $115 USD each.

Add-On 2:  Extend your trip one day and depart Sunday, January 25.  Enjoy Saturday in Oaxaca City with Norma to explore the best textile shops and visit the Museo Textil de Oaxaca. Includes transportation to Oaxaca, overnight on January 24 in Oaxaca City. $195 per person double occupancy, $275 per person single occupancy. Dinner on your own.

Add-on 3:  Stay extra days before or after the workshop.  Add on nights in Teotitlan del Valle at $55 per night,or in Oaxaca City at $125 per night.  Let us know your preference and we make all the arrangements for you.

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Cecelia, Margaret, Sandra, Kirsten, Lynne, Margaret show their work from the 2014 Felt Fashion Workshop.Vest design by Jessica de Haas, FunkShui Studio.

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 Accommodations. 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. 

Insurance Required:  Proof of international travel insurance that covers accidents, medical coverage and emergency evacuation to the U.S.A. or your home country is required by all participants.  If you do not want this, you must send us a notarized waiver of responsibility, holding Norma Hawthorne and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC harmless.  Thank you for your understanding.

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

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 December 1, 2014.  We only accept Payment with PayPal.  We will be happy to send you an invoice.

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 December 1, we will refund 50% of your deposit.

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

Penland School of Crafts: Oaxaca Registration Form

Penland School of Crafts–Exploring the Textile Traditions of Oaxaca, Mexico — Organized by Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC

November 4-10, 2013

Program Costs and Conditions

Trip Cost

  • Double room occupancy (per person) $3,185
  • Single room occupancy $3,485

Included

  • 4 nights accommodation at the beautiful and highly-rated Casa de Las Bugambilias Bed & Breakfast  in historic center of Oaxaca city
  • 2 nights accommodation at Casa Elena B&B or Las Granadas B&B  in Teotitlan del Valle
  • Daily breakfast
  • Meals listed in itinerary
  • Transportation to and from the Oaxaca airport
  • Transportation listed in the itinerary
  • Admission to archeological sites and museums
  • $500 tax-deductible contribution to the Penland School of Crafts

Not Included

  • Round-trip airfares to Oaxaca from the USA
  • Airline baggage cost
  • Meals other than listed on the itinerary
  • Tips for drivers, local guide, personal services, meals, lodging staff
  • Alcoholic beverages and individual hotel expenses (laundry, snacks, mini-bar, etc.)
  • Travel insurance

Sign Up TODAY! Spaces still available with full payment.

  • Complete the travel registration form and email or mail to Norma Hawthorne
  • Questions? Ask Norma. Call 919-274-6194 or email normahawthorne@mac.com

Choose One of Three Ways To Complete Your Registration Form

  1. Download and complete the reservation form attached to the trip announcement email you received from Penland and mail to: Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC, 110 Blue Heron Farm Road, Pittsboro, NC 27312.
  2. Call Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC, at 919-274-6194 or email her at normahawthorne@mac.com We will take your registration information by phone or email. Norma will enter all the information for you.
  3. Copy the Registration Form from this webpage and paste it into a  Word Document.  Save the Word Document and complete the information requested.  Save the completed information on your computer and close the document.  Open your email.  Attach this document to the email and send to normahawthorne@mac.com

Choose One of Two Ways to Pay

  1. Email Oaxaca Cultural Navigator and Norma Hawthorne at normahawthorne@mac.com to say you are ready to register. We will send you a PayPal invoice by email to make your payment with a Credit Card. A PayPal account is not required.  This is safe, secure and easy.
  2. Snail Mail a Personal Check.  Make your check payable to Norma Hawthorne OCN-LLC and mail to:  Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC, 110 Blue Heron Farm Road, Pittsboro, NC 27312.

 REGISTRATION FORM

Exploring the Textile Traditions of Oaxaca, Mexico — Travel Adventures with Penland School of Crafts, November 4-10, 2013

We will accept a maximum of 12 travelers! Reservations are on a first come, first served basis. Please confirm your participation as soon as possible.  If you wish, we can take your registration information by phone.  (If reserving space in a DOUBLE, please indicate the names of both parties. Deposits may be made separately. Please note—Your Passport must be valid for 6 months after the date of your return to the USA.

Please reserve _______________ space(s).

Name of Traveler (please complete one form for each traveler)

_____________________________________________________

Sharing Room With:___________________________________________________

Traveler’s Mailing Address: _______________________________________________________

City/State/ZIP:____________________________________________

Email:__________________________________________________

Cell Phone: ____________________________________

Land Phone: ___________________________________

Please include Area Code

Reservations and Deposits.  Deposits are due by August 15, 2013.

[ ] I prefer a Double Room at $3,185 per person. [ ] 1 King Bed [ ] 2 Beds —

[ ] I prefer a Single Room at $3,485 per person

If  you wish to pay by personal check, please make your check payable to Norma Hawthorne-OCN-LLC and mail to Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC, 110 Blue Heron Farm Road, Pittsboro, NC 27312.

Final payment is due on or before September 8, 2013. We ask that you send us a check for the final payment, and include a separate check made payable to Penland School of Crafts in the amount of $500. We will send you an email reminder with the final amount due.

All travel documentation, notices, and supplemental information will be sent to participants via email. if you do not use email, we will make other arrangements.

Cancellation Policy

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 to normahawthorne@mac.com.

After August 15, no refunds are possible. You may send a substitute in your place. If you cancel on or before  August 15, we will refund 50% of your deposit. We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation, baggage, emergency evacuation and medical insurance before you begin your trip, since unforeseen circumstances are possible. We offer this service and are happy to give you a quote.

Thank you very much for traveling with us and for your support of Penland School of Crafts.

New Location for Puebla, Mexico Folk Art Cooperative Siuamej

After landing in Mexico City, taking the Estrella Roja bus (complete with WiFi, TV, and reclining seats) from the airport to Puebla, and a good night’s sleep, I set out to find my favorite folk art shop Siuamej, only to discover that they moved.  First and foremost, here is the address: The corner of 4 Oriente and 4 Norte. 4 Oriente is the street of the camote shops.  Puebla streets are confusing** and I got turned around and lost trying to find the new location.  But, when I got there — WOW!

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Siuamej is an indigenous arts cooperative that represents the work of artisans from throughout the remote Nahuatl-speaking mountain region which is a good three to four hours by bus from the city of Puebla.

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Within moments of entering the shop, Kit Rank showed up.  She is a New York City artist represented by McKee Gallery who has been living with her husband in Sicily for the last ten years. They have been living in Puebla now for a couple of months and love it.  She had her eye on an exquisite hand-embroidered top that we convinced her to model.  She bought it on the two-month layaway plan!

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While Uriel, son of shopkeepers Mari Jimenez Barbara and Tomas Amaya Aquino amused himself with Sponge Bob, I looked through the all naturally dyed wool quechquemitls and rebozos, settling on a Chal de Hueyapan handwoven by Teresa Lino Bello, dyed with baseide sauco  (elderberry plant dye) that yields a stunning olive green (see photo above of the three shawls).  The hand spun yarn that is used for the embroidery is dyed with nogal (tree bark) and the brown embroidery on the green provides a subtle contrast.  The fringes or punto are hand tied in a style called doble vista.

In addition to the handwoven wool textiles, there is a selection of jewelry, baskets, embroidered cotton blouses, ceramics and lots more.  Tomas speaks English very well (he is originally from Oaxaca), and it is easy to be in discovery of Puebla’s indigenous artisan riches for well over an hour.  This is the only artist cooperative I’ve been able to find in Puebla.  Here you know you are buying the best quality available and the funds go directly to the makers at fair trade value.

**Puebla streets are arranged in a quadrant — north, south, east and west.  Odd numbers go in one direction, even numbers go in the other direction.  Get a map from your hotel or the tourist office on the Zocalo before you set out.  It is really confusing.  Especially since oriente translates to east and poniente translates to west.

Commonwealth Club of California to Host Chavez Santiago Family Weavers on May 10

San Francisco and Bay Area textile and fiber artists, hand-weavers and spinners are invited to attend a presentation at the Commonwealth Club of California at 12:00 noon on May 10.

The Future of Tradition: Weavers of Oaxaca, Mexico Connect Their Future with Their Past.

Eric Chavez Santiago, director of education at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca and Janet Chavez Santiago, education coordinator at the San Pablo Academic and Cultural Center of Oaxaca, will talk about their family’s weaving and textile traditions, indigenous life, and the professional goals they have set for themselves and their institutions.  Jean Pierre Larochette, a Berkeley, Calif. weaver and leader of the American Tapestry Alliance, will introduce them.

Chavez Santiago Family Portrait by Richard Carter c.2012

Their father, Federico Chavez Sosa, is a master weaver whose work is recognized for blending traditional Zapotec design with innovative color combinations and pattern adaptations.  Both Janet (top, second from left) and Eric (top right) are fourth generation tapestry weavers, along with their brother Omar (top left).  Eric’s novia Elsa Sanchez Diaz is to Eric’s left.

The family is committed to using only 100% natural dyes in their work.  They have been featured in the NY Times article 36 Hours: Oaxaca, Mexico by travel writer Freda Moon.

Eric and Janet are in the Bay Area at the invitation of the American Tapestry Alliance.

This summer! Weaving and Natural Dye Workshop with Federico Chavez Sosa and the Chavez Santiago Family Weavers in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico, produced by Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.

Chavez Family Weavers, a Portrait by Norma Hawthorne c.2012

In addition, Federico accepts commissions for custom work and when you are in Oaxaca, please visit them at Galeria Fe y Lola, Av. 5 de Mayo #408, Centro Historico.

Questions?  Contact Norma Hawthorne, executive director, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.