Tag Archives: fiber arts

Asbestos Health Risk for La Flor de Xochistlahuaca Weaving Cooperative. How You Can Help!

An Open Letter from Maddalena Forcella, textile-fashion designer

I am writing to ask you to consider making a gift of whatever size to remove the toxic, cancer-causing asbestos from La Flor de Xochistlahuaca women’s weaving cooperative work space in Guerrero, Mexico.

Flor de Xochistlahuaca cooperative asks for your help

Flor de Xochistlahuaca cooperative needs your help for cancer-free health

On the webpage it explains everything: the roof of asbestos that needs to be destroyed and rebuilt because it is very toxic and a carcinogen and operates like an oven creating uncomfortable working conditions in the extreme heat. In addition, there is a great video about the cooperative and the weavers and the gifts that will be given with each donation. Please take a look.

Goal: $45,000 USD

To Date Raised: $7, 541 USD or 17% of Goal

The goal is ambitious and we need the help from all of our friends – especially those textile lovers and those interested in artisan craftsmanship. I know most of us don’t like to receive petitions for money, but in this case, I know that it is worth it. And, I know that I owe it to the weavers, to their hope for a better future and for their wish to have a work space that is healthy and dignified for the excellence of their textile art. I ask you to please consider participating.

I thank you from my heart and I thank you on behalf of the artisans for your willingness to support this project either through a donation or by sharing it with friends or on Facebook or in any other way you are able: https://igg.me/at/laflordexochistlahuaca

Thank you again for your support and time, I really appreciate it.

Hugs,  Maddalena

Norma’s Note: Maddalena has worked with this group for three years to build their economic development and marketing capacity; this is her last project with them. They live on the border between the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero. Their handmade weaving work is exquisite, and their health matters! Please support them with whatever size gift you can afford.

 En Español de Maddalena Forcella

Les escribo pidiéndoles unos minutos de su tiempo para que chequen la campaña de fondeo colectivo para renovar el espacio de trabajo de las tejedoras de La Flor de Xochistlahuaca, en Guerrero . Después de tres años de trabajo con el grupo, este es el último esfuerzo que hacemos juntas, el objetivo es ambicioso, así que necesitamos de la ayuda de todos nuestros amigos, especialmente de los amantes del textil y la excelencia artesanal; se que no es lo máximo recibir peticiones a contribuir a una buena causa, pero en este caso se que vale la pena, y se lo debo a las tejedoras, a su esperanza de un presente/futuro mejor y a su deseo de tener un espacio de trabajo digno de la maestria de su quehacer. Entonces doble agradecimiento por si quieres hacer una donación, o ayudarnos a difundir la campaña a través de este enlace entre amigos y conocidos, en Facebook y cualquier otro medio a tu alcance: https://igg.me/at/laflordexochistlahuaca

En la página se explica todo, el techo de lámina de asbesto, que debe ser cambiado ya que es super tóxico y cancerígeno, ademas de ser un horno cuando se esta debajo, también hay un bonito video y fotos de la cooperativa y de las tejedoras, y los regalos que las artesanas enviarán a los donadores.

Les mando un gran abrazo y mis agradecimientos sinceros

Maddalena

Oaxaca Natural Dye Workshop Day 2: Cochineal Red and More

Taking this Oaxaca Natural Dye Workshop is a study in color creativity. On this second day of three, we prepare cochineal, the parasitic insect that lives on the prickly pear cactus paddle. The chemical interaction between the female bug and the cactus juice produces carminic acid.

Cochineal dyed wool, ready for the weaver's loom

Cochineal dyed cotton, ready for the weaver’s loom

This is the most intense and color-fast red in the natural world.

When the Spanish came to Oaxaca in 1521 they were amazed to see the deep red used to dye feathers and to paint codices, human bodies or plaster temple walls.

Lava stone mortar and pestle used only to crush dried cochineal

Lava stone mortar and pestle used only to crush dried cochineal

They called it grana cochineal, naming it a grain not an insect to disguise its origin. The Spanish kept cochineal a secret for hundreds of years, holding the world monopoly on its production and distribution. It was the third most valuable export commodity after gold and silver.

Rhiannon and Elsa strain the cochineal concentrate for the dye pot

Rhiannon and Elsa strain the cochineal concentrate for the dye pot

Today, natural carminic acid colors cosmetics such as lipstick, and foods and beverages like Campari, fruit juices, jello and even meat.

Dyeing wool samples with cochineal and acid (lime juice)

Dyeing wool samples with cochineal and acid (lime juice)

Cochineal is expensive, about $125 USD or 1,800 pesos for a kilo. It can’t be wasted. That’s why Elsa grinds her dried bugs that she buys from El Tlapanochestli Cochineal Farm. You can buy packages of dried bugs for dyeing at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca gift shop.

Skeins dyed with pomegranate (granada) hang to dry

Skeins dyed with pomegranate (granada) and wild marigold  hang to dry

She grinds them to a very fine powder in a molcajete. This is a lava stone mortar and pestle. It must be very fine powder to dissolve completely in the dye bath. The finer the powder the less waste there will be.

Squeezing fresh lime juice for the acid dye bath -- turns cochineal bright orange

Squeezing fresh lime juice for the acid dye bath — turns cochineal bright orange

Hand process includes squeezing fresh lime juice to make an acid dye bath

Skein of wool dyed with wild marigold (pericone) leaves, stems and flowers

There is so much preparation even before the dyeing process begins. It’s no wonder textiles made with natural dyes cost so much! First, there is the investment in stainless steel and enamel dye pots, much more expensive than iron or aluminum, but essential so the pot chemistry doesn’t change the dye color.

Rhiannon preps a shibori scarf while waiting for cochineal dye bath

Rhiannon preps a shibori scarf while waiting for cochineal dye bath to finish

Then, you have to make your recipes. What color red do you want? Deep fuchsia, orange, hot pink, magenta? Your recipe will vary depending on color intensity. You may add more water, more lime juice (acid) or baking soda (neutral).

Dyeing sample cloth with brazil wood

Dyeing sample cloth with brazil wood

Next, you’ll wash your fiber in soapy water to open up the fibers to clean it and accept the mordant. You rinse the fibers several time to take out the soap and then hang it to dry.

Rhiannon and Elsa hold finished shibori -- to be dyed with indigo

Rhiannon and Elsa hold finished shibori — to be dyed with indigo

You will leave the cleaned fiber (we used wool) in the mordant overnight. This helps the wool absorb the dye.

On this second day, with the wool ready, we prepare the cochineal and then select the white and grey skeins to dye.

Mahogany (caoba) bark makes a beautiful peach dye

Mahogany (caoba) bark makes a beautiful peach dye

In addition, on this second day we also experiment dyeing with caoba (mahogany) and palo de Brazil (brazil wood).

Shibori is dye resist technique. Here, marbles and rubber bands make designs.

Shibori is dye resist technique. Here, marbles and rubber bands make the design.

The cochineal dye pot is ready at 90 degrees centigrade. It takes an hour to cook the skeins so they absorb the right amount of color. During this time, we prepare wild marigold, mahogany, brazil wood, and pomegranate. Most of these skeins will be over dyed on Day Three to yield 32 different colors.

It’s no wonder the Spanish loved this color! Red on white and grey wool.

I write about natural dyes because Oaxaca has a long tradition of using colors derived from the natural world. I also want to encourage Oaxaca visitors to seek out and support artisans who work in natural dyes.

We determine color by weight of fiber (WOF) to amount of dye -- chemistry!

We determine color by weight of fiber (WOF) to amount of dye — chemistry!

I hope readers will better understand the labor involved to make textiles using this technique. Yes, the textile will cost more. Perhaps you agree that its subtle beauty will be worth it.

Pomegranate dye bath

Wool in a pomegranate dye bath

 

Flexible Schedule, Intensive Weaving Workshops and Studio Time, Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca Cultural Navigator can arrange and schedule intensive tapestry weaving workshops and independent studio time that fits into your travel schedule.  You learn from the Chavez Santiago family weavers in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico, with private or semi-private sessions.

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We are happy to offer you this opportunity to come to Teotitlan del Valle to learn from one of the most accomplished master weavers of the village.  The workshop can be scheduled as a private experience to suit your schedule.  Studio residencies are flexible and can be scheduled for as long as you wish to stay — one day, several days or several months.  This includes independent time at your own dedicated loom to work on your own projects.

Here is what we can offer you:

  • Weaving Workshop: Intensive beginner to intermediate level 4-day workshop at $585 USD per person.  This includes all wool and 4-6 hours of instruction daily. At the end of the workshop you will have completed a tapestry sampler about the size of a pillow cover or small wall-hanging.  You will make your own lodging, food and transportation arrangements.  Note: Weaving workshop may overlap with other participants.
  • Optional:  We can make all-inclusive arrangements for you when you register for Tapestry Weaving Workshop: Dancing on the Loom. 
  • Studio Time: Up to six-hours a day of studio time in the workshop at a dedicated loom. The cost is $100 a day.  This includes naturally dyed wool, plus coaching and instruction to weave more complex designs. Note: Studio time may overlap with other participants.
  • Long-Term Residencies:  If you would like to stay longer than one-week, contact us for special pricing.
  • Materials/Yarn for Purchase:  You may purchase additional naturally dyed locally sourced, hand-spun churro wool directly from the family.  The cost is $20 USD for 100 grams or 260 pesos for 100 grams.

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You can bypass the Intensive 5-day Weaving Workshop and go directly to studio time IF you are an experienced tapestry weaver or IF you have taken the beginner-intermediate workshop from the family at another time.

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If you are interested in making these arrangements, please contact Norma Hawthorne at Oaxaca Cultural Navigator.   We can set up the studio residency for as many days or weeks as you wish.  You would make all payments to reserve the workshop and studio arrangements with Oaxaca Cultural Navigator. We will send you a PayPal invoice for 1/2 the total cost with the remaining amount due 45 days before the workshop/residency begins.  You would need to specify the dates you prefer for the workshop and/or when you want the residency.

Oaxaca Natural Dye Secrets — 3-Day Fiber Arts Textile Workshop

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Natural Dye Workshop (c) Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC

Roll up your sleeves to learn the secrets of natural dyes. Oaxaca is famous for cochineal and indigo natural dyes, plus many others.

January 2014

          January 10, 11, 12, 2014  (arrive January 9) 

March 2014

March 13, 14, 15 (arrive March 12)

Indigenous Mexican weavers also work with pecan shells and leaves, and yellow fustic — a colorfast wood extract dye, which you will learn to prepare in this workshop.   They also collect moss and wild marigold, pomegranates, tree bark, wild cotton and murex snails to dye textiles, which you will better understand.

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You will:

  • gain an understanding of the properties of natural dye materials
  • learn new methods for extraction
  • discover innovative techniques for mordanting
  • work with the cochineal, nuts, indigo and fustic to dye and over-dye wool
  • achieve a wide range of glorious colors to reproduce at home
  • appreciate natural dye use for a healthier environment
  • take home a labeled sample card for reference
  • maximum 8 people for personal attention

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Your Instructor is Eric Chavez Santiago

Eric is one of the most knowledgeable textile resources in Mexico.  In his professional life, Eric is immersed in Oaxaca’s textile traditions and is affiliated with one of Mexico’s finest cultural arts museums.  A graduate of Oaxaca’s Anahuac University, Eric speaks fluent English, is a talented weaver and dyer, experienced instructor, and makes presentations throughout Mexico and worldwide.  He has developed over 100 shades of cochineal and uses innovative techniques for dyeing with indigo.

Eric has traveled to the United States regularly since 2006 to present Oaxaca’s textile traditions to museums, galleries, and universities, including UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, University of Notre Dame Snite Museum of Art, University of California at Santa Cruz, National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, San Jose, California Quilt and Textile Museum, American Tapestry Alliance, and The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco.

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Cost and Location

The workshop will be held in the weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico.  It includes 3 nights lodging, 3 breakfasts, 3 dinners, all instruction, materials, samples, workbook and an indigo dyed scarf that you will make yourself.

  •  $595 per person double occupancy with shared bath
  •  $675 per person single occupancy with private bath
  • Trailing spouse option:  Add $155 (food/lodging only, no workshop)
  •  Add-on Zapotec cooking class, Monday, January 13 or Thursday, March 13: $125 per person (includes lodging the night before, dinner, breakfast, lunch, all instruction and recipe booklet)
  • Add-on 4-day tapestry weaving workshop from $895 (includes 4 nights, all breakfasts, dinners, weaving handbook). Click link for schedules.

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Reserve your space with a 50% deposit. The balance is due on December 1, 2013.  The workshop includes:  three days of hands-on instruction, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily for a total of 15 hours, 2 nights lodging, 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners, all materials and supplies, a natural dye handbook with recipes, and labeled sample cards to take with you.

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Refunds and Cancellations

Please understand that we make 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. No refunds are possible after 45 days before the workshop start date; however, we will make every possible effort to fill your reserved space or you may send a substitute. If you cancel on or before 45 days before the workshop start date,  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.

Ready to Register? Tell Norma at normahawthorne@mac.com Have Questions? Ask Norma at normahawthorne@mac.com  and we will send you a PayPal invoice.

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Penland Travel Adventures: Exploring the Textile Traditions of Oaxaca

November 4-10, 2013 — 6 nights, 7 days of cultural immersion and discovery!  Click Here for Registration Form. Spaces open with full payment.

Questions? Call Norma Hawthorne at 919-274-6194 or send an email  normahawthorne@mac.com 

Penland School of Crafts, an international center for craft education located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, was founded on the principles and values of preserving and promulgating the rich textile traditions of local weaving culture. In keeping with these roots, we offer you a week-long cultural exchange and immersion to explore the indigenous textile world of Oaxaca, Mexico. Here the art and craft of weaving has been embedded in the culture for centuries. More than body covering, weaving reflects community and mirrors ancient designs adapted from the natural and physical environment. Vintage Garment 2b Juchitan Girl

The mountain ranges of Oaxaca state are scattered with traditional villages where women still weave using back-strap looms just as their ancestors did thousands of years ago. They create amazing textiles adorned with animal figures, plant life and sea creatures or patterns derived from the spiritual world. The woven textiles become shirts, blouses, dresses, scarves, shawls, table linens and floor rugs. The cotton and wool might be prepared with local natural dyes from wild marigold, pecan nuts, indigo or cochineal. Every piece has a back-story and is a testimony to the creativity and beauty that is Oaxaca today. We invite you to become a part of this exciting, personalized program. 

Market Scene2 Juchitan Woman

During our week together, you will

  • discover (or return to rediscover) the 16th century Spanish colonial city of Oaxaca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • meet textile experts, curators, museum directors and weavers
  • participate in a hands-on indigo dye workshop to create a shibori textile of your own design
  • create a nuno felted wool scarf on silk during a hands-on felt fashion workshop with one of Oaxaca’s leading designers
  • explore the famed Zapotec archeological site of Monte Alban with an expert English-speaking guide
  • sample local cuisine during a cooking class with a Rick Bayless-trained Zapotec teacher in her village kitchen
  • 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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Itinerary

Day 1: Monday, November 4, 2013. 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 comfortable Oaxaca city hotel. 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: Tuesday, November 5, 2013. Introduction to the textile traditions of Oaxaca. After breakfast, tour the Museo Textil de Oaxaca with education director Eric Chavez Santiago, discuss the collection and textile preservation techniques. We have invited special guests to demonstrate back-strap loom weaving techniques and to present a private show. Then, we will walk down the street and have a welcome lunch at a local, highly-rated organic restaurant that prepares traditional Oaxaca food with flair. After lunch, meet and talk with a private collector and textile curator. Overnight in Oaxaca. Dinner on your own. (B, L)

Day 3: Wednesday, November 6, 2013. 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 Monte Alban to be the finest example of social and government organization in Mesoamerica. Sturdy walking shoes and walking sticks encouraged! We will have a private, guided visit with one of Oaxaca’s most knowledgeable guides. Snack in the Monte Alban sky café. Return to Oaxaca for lunch on your own. Depart for an overnight in the rug weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle. Group dinner. (B, D)

Day 4: Thursday, November 7, 2013. After breakfast, we will visit the tapestry weaving workshop of Federico Chavez Sosa, master weaver. Federico will demonstrate the two-harness loom introduced by the Spanish in 1521. Then, we will roll up our sleeves to participate in an Indigo Dye Workshop. We will enjoy a delicious group lunch prepared by one of the finest village cooks in the village. Afternoon on your own to meander and explore this historic site that blends Zapotec and Spanish culture. Group Dinner. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle. (B,L,D)

Day 5: Friday, November 8, 2013. After breakfast, we will meet Reyna, one of Oaxaca’s famed cooking teachers for a cooking class in her outdoor kitchen located just around the corner from our B&B. She will take us on a walking tour of the village 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 will depart for Oaxaca where we will spend the night. Dinner on your own. (B, L)

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Day 6: Saturday, November 9, 2013. Today we will join noted international fiber textile artist Maddalena in her Oaxaca studio to make a scarf of your own design using the nuno felting technique of wool on silk. In keeping with our commitment to sustainable development, we only use natural dyes which are made from local sources. Maddalena has been working with indigenous women in Oaxaca and Chiapas states to preserve natural dye traditions for many years. Lunch in Oaxaca. Return to Oaxaca for a gala grand finale group dinner. Overnight in Oaxaca. (B, L, D)

Day 7: Depart, Sunday, November 10, 2013. We will provide private van or taxi transportation from our Oaxaca hotel to the airport based upon your departure schedule.

$3,185 per person double occupancy. $3,485 for a single supplement. Includes $500 per person tax-deductible gift to Penland School of Crafts.

Register Today. Have Questions? Ask Norma Hawthorne at normahawthorne@mac.com or call 919-274-6194

Ready to Register?

Click Here for Registration Form.

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 workshop offerings to include women’s creating writing, yoga, photography, and other forms of textile and fiber arts programs. 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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About Eric Chavez Santiago. Eric has worked to preserve Oaxaca’s textile traditions for most of his adult life.  A graduate of Oaxaca’s Anahuac University, Eric speaks fluent English, is a talented weaver and dyer in his own right, is an experienced instructor.  Eric has traveled throughout the State of Oaxaca to create documentary videos that include interviews with seasoned weavers and the new generation of young weavers committed to carrying the traditions forward. He is currently working on a documentary to record and preserve the Mexican tradition of Spanish needle lace. Eric has traveled to the United States regularly since 2006 to present Oaxaca’s textile traditions to museums, galleries, and universities, including UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, University of Notre Dame Snite Museum of Art, University of California at Santa Cruz, National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, San Jose, California Quilt and Textile Museum, American Tapestry Alliance, and The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. He is one of the most knowledgeable textile resources in Mexico.

ReynaAmarilloMetate2 ReynaSaladIngred Lodging/Accommodations. We have selected highly rated, elegant, upscale accommodations for you in Oaxaca city where we will spend four nights at Casa Las Bugambilias B&B.  We will also spend two nights at family owned and operated Casa Elena B&B or Las Granadas B&B in Teotitlan del Valle to give you a flavor of village life. 

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Cost: The basic cost for the trip is $3,185. USD. This includes six 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.

The cost does NOT include airfare and related taxes, tips/gratuities, travel insurance, liquor/alcoholic beverages, and several meals as specified in the itinerary. If you want travel insurance, please let us know and we will quote you a cost.

Base Cost: Shared double room with private bath; $3,185. 

Option 2: Single Supplement, private room with private bath; $3,485.

Please make your deposit check payable to Norma Hawthorne, OCN-LLC and mail to Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC, 110 Blue Heron Farm Road, Pittsboro, NC 27312 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.

See the Registration Form for complete details.

Dolores with Shadows Doug_03.2 DSC_0081.JPG Reservations 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 September 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 September 1, 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.

Ready to Register? Tell Norma at normahawthorne@mac.com Have Questions? Ask Norma at normahawthorne@mac.com  or call Norma at 919-274-6194.

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 Pittsboro, 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! 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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