This study tour is designed as an intensive personal learning experience. Here in Tenancingo de Degollado and beyond, you will meet artisans in their homes and workshops, understand family traditions and culture, and help honor and preserve craft.
Tenancingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico (Edomex), is the source for handwoven ikat rebozos or shawls made on back-strap and flying shuttle looms by master artisans. Some count only 27 remaining reboceros — the men who weave the cloth. Not long ago there were hundreds. We will also meet the puntadoras — the women who hand-knot the intricate fringes. The experience of being there is so inspiring that I want to keep sharing it with you. I invite you to return with me for a memorable, curated Mexican textile and folk art study tour.
Our September visit will coincide with the annual Feria del Rebozo — the fair that features artisans and their finished products. Here you will find hundreds of rebozos for sale plus lots of demonstrations — how to weave, tie the fringe, prepare the ikat and accessorize.
You have two study-tour dates to choose from:
- September 8-16, 2016. 8 nights, 9 days. $1,995 per person shared room with private bath. Single supplement is $300 more per person. A 50% deposit will reserve your space.
- February 2-10, 2017. 8 nights, 9 days. $1,995 per person shared room with private bath. Single supplement is $300 more per person. A 50% deposit will reserve your space.
Cost includes luxury van transportation from Mexico City to Tenancingo and back, daily excursions, all hotels, 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners, private guide services, gratutities for artisans, guides, drivers and service staff. Does not include alcoholic beverages and optional expenses not included in the itinerary.
Group size limited to 10 people.
You will arrive and leave from Mexico City.
- Meet together in Mexico City on September 8 with an overnight there at a historic center hotel
- Travel to and stay in Tenancingo from September 9-14 at a bed and breakfast oasis
- Enjoy the company of our bi-lingual guide who migrated from the U.S. to Tenancingo to marry a local thirteen years ago
- Meet the master weavers of Tenancingo de Degollado in their home workshops
- Visit the Feria del Rebozo to see hundreds of rebozos and related fashion products on display, meet artisans and enjoy demonstrations
- Learn about ikat warp thread preparation, the complexity of this at-risk textile art and how to differentiate quality
- Participate in hands-on natural dye and weaving demonstrations
- Understand the intricacy of a fine hand-knotted fringe called punta or rapacejo, and how it adds to the beauty of the lienza (cloth)
- Visit three of Mexico’s Pueblo Magicos – magic villages where traditional life flourishes
- Spend a day in Malinalco, a Pueblo Magico, to discover archeology, ancient frescoes, weaving traditions, natural dyes and more
- Spend a day in Taxco de Alarcon,with the next generation of William Spratling Silversmiths. Enjoy a day at the Spratling Ranch and famed Las Delicias, see jewelry making at its finest using Spratling’s original molds with his same excellent handcrafted quality
- Travel to Metepec, a Pueblo Magico. Climb the archeological site of Teotenango, meet outstanding ceramic artists who make Tree of Life sculptures and cazuelas cooking vessels
- Spend the last night in Mexico City on September 15 to depart on September 16 for home OR stay on longer to enjoy museums and world-class restaurants
Along the way, you will eat great food, climb ancient pyramids at important though remote archeological sites, visit three Pueblo Magicos – Malinalco, Taxco and Metepec — and immerse yourself in some of Mexico’s outstanding folk art.
Primarily, we are here to learn about the art and craft of making a fine rebozo, meet the men who weave the cloth and the women who tie the elaborate fringe.
Some of the weavers are innovators, like Jesus Zarate, who incorporates intricate floral, bird and animal motifs on the ikat cloth.
Some, like Fito Garcia, use splashes of color that looks like confetti. Camila Ramos ikat designs employ ancient indigenous symbols and figures.
The revered master, 82-year old Evaristo Borboa Casas, is a traditionalist. All have received top honors for their work worldwide.
Each technique requires mathematical and technical precision, extraordinary creativity and months of work to produce one rebozo.
It can take weeks to prepare the ikat warp threads, dye them and dress the loom, with another month or two for the weaving. It can take two or three months to tie a punta, depending on length and elaboration.
After this study trip, I can guarantee that you will better appreciate this textile art form that is at risk of disappearing. Only three or four weavers in Tenancingo continue the back-strap weaving tradition. Sixty years ago there were over 200 weavers working on the back-strap loom.
- 8 nights lodging
- 7 Breakfasts
- 5 Lunches
- 5 Dinners
- Round trip transportation to/from Mexico City center and Tenancingo
- Transportation to all towns, villages and artisans noted in itinerary
- Gratuities to artisans for demonstrations
- Tips for most services, including hotel rooms, van driver, guides
Day 1: Arrive in Mexico City, overnight. Dinner on your own. We will stay at a historic luxury hotel on or near the Zocalo. As soon as you register, we will tell you where. You might also like to arrive a few days early to explore the city. It’s wonderful!
Day 2: Travel by luxury van to Tenancingo, overnight (B, D) Attend the Feria del Rebozo Opening Ceremonies. Group dinner.
Day 3: In the morning, meet some of Tenancingo’s best master weavers. We will confirm who later! The group can include Evaristo Borboa Casas, Jesus Zarate, Adolfo “Fito” Garcia Diaz, Fermin Escobar Camacho and Luis Rodriguez Martinez. Take a ride on the flying shuttle peddle loom. (B, L, D)
Day 4: Today we will enjoy a demonstration of rebozo fringe knotting by one of Tenancingo’s best puntadoras, visit master weavers, return for the last day of the Rebozo Fair, and have lunch at a beautiful outdoor family restaurant in the countryside. (B, L, D)
Day 5: We leave early to spend a day in Taxco de Alarcon, Pueblo Magico, with the next generation owner of the William Spratling silver jewelry workshop. First, we will have breakfast at the famous Spratling Ranch followed by a tour and silversmith demonstration. We’ll return to town for a late lunch Spratling’s home and first workshop, Las Delicias, now S’Caffecito. Then, you can roam Taxco on your own. We start our 2-hour return to Tenancingo in late afternoon. (B, L)
Day 6: Malinalco Pueblo Magico. Climb the ancient archeological site (if you wish), the only one in Mesoamerica carved out of the rock face. Visit the workshop of Camila Ramos Zamora and award-winning son Juan Rodrigo Mancio Ramos. See how they work the back strap loom and make natural dyes. See how to dye and prepare ikat threads. Take time to visit the 16th century Augustinian church with the amazing Paradise Garden Murals. (B, L, D)
Day 7: After breakfast, we will have a demonstration of another type of weaving, the fiber made from the Joshua Tree leaf called izote. An indigenous family will join us from the countryside to show the process that is made into beautiful, finely crafted bags, some dyed with cochineal. Afternoon on your own to return to your favorite rebocero, do last-minute market shopping and begin packing. (B, D)
Day 8: Travel to Metepec Pueblo Magico. First, we will stop to climb the Mesoamerican Teotenango pyramids (if you wish) or visit the museum. Then, we will visit the Museo del Barro ceramics museum to see the finest examples of Tree of Life sculptures and highly decorated, sturdy cooking pots called cazuelas. After lunch, we will have time to explore the artisans market before returning to Mexico City. Overnight in Mexico City. (B, L)
Day 9: Depart our Mexico City hotel by taxi (at your own expense) to catch your flights home. Or make your own arrangements to stay in Mexico City a little longer and enjoy the Independence Day festivities around town.
The study tour includes round trip transportation between Mexico City and Tenancingo de Degollado, lodging in Mexico City and Tenancingo, meals as noted in the itinerary, travel to all artisans and destinations noted on the itinerary, cultural bi-lingual guide services and most gratutities/tips. Plus you receive a comprehensive packet of information about our location, shopping, restaurants, and itinerary sent by email before the study tour begins.
The study tour does not include airfare, taxi from Mexico City airport to Mexico City hotel, return taxi from Mexico City to the airport, some meals as noted in the itinerary, admission to museums and archeological sites, alcoholic beverages, travel insurance, optional transportation and incidentals.
Reservations and Cancellations: A 50% deposit will reserve your space. The final payment for the balance due shall be made on or before 45 days before the study tour begins. We accept PayPal for payment only. We will send you an invoice for your deposit to reserve when you tell us by email that you are ready to register.
If cancellation is necessary, please notify us in writing by email. After the 45-day cut-off date, no refunds are possible. However, we will make every effort to fill your reserved space or you may send a substitute. If you cancel before the 45-day deadline, we will refund 50% of your deposit.
About Travel to Mexico City: The Mexico City Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX) is our gateway city and a Mexico City historic center hotel is our meeting point. You can fly to Mexico City from many United States locations on most major USA airlines. Mexico’s excellent new discount airlines Interjet and Volaris service some U.S. cities, as does Aeromexico.
International Travel Insurance Required. We require that you purchase trip cancellation, baggage loss and at least $50,000 of emergency evacuation and medical insurance before you begin your trip. We will ask for insurance documentation as well as a witnessed waiver of liability form that holds Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC harmless. We know unforeseen circumstances are possible.
To register, please email us at email@example.com
We accept payment with PayPal only. Thank you.