Tag Archives: Norma Hawthorne

Arts, Culture, Textile Journey to Santa Fe and Oaxaca

Postponed until Summer 2013: Oaxaca Cultural Navigator collaborates with Australia’s Desert Traditions to bring you Beyond Santa Fe.  Join textile artist and group leader Carole Douglas from Sydney, Australia, Santa Fe textile expert Sheri Brautigam, and Norma Hawthorne for a cultural immersion experience of a lifetime.

Three Documentary Videos Produced at 2010 Film Making Workshop

YouTube Channel  http://www.youtube.com/user/normahawthorne

Rescate Seda features the taller of Arte y Seda and the family of Aurora Contreras and Reynoldo Sosa, written and directed by filmmakers Sheri Brautigam and Pam Holland.  The interview was conducted in Spanish and translated to English subtitles.  The film, below, features the labor-intensive process of growing silkworms, cultivating the cocoons, spinning the silk and weaving it, then dyeing it with natural materials.

Pantaleon Ruiz Martinez: Pintor de Teotitlan del Valle was written and directed by filmmakers Laura Dunne and Eric Chavez Santiago.  The interview was conducted in Spanish and translated to English subtitles.  The film, below, features the oil paintings and weavings of Pantaleon who is a noted Oaxacan artist.

Magdalena’s Traditional Tortillas was written and directed by filmmakers Lauren Waits and Dara Stillman.  The interview was conducted in Zapotec and translated to English subtitles.  Magdalena is one of the owners of Las Granadas Bed and Breakfast in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca.

These three films were produced during the one week intensive documentary filmmaking workshop held in February 2010 in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca.  Participants were novice to intermediate level students taught by Erica Rothman, Nighlight Productions LLC, Durham, NC, and Jim Haverkamp, also of Durham, who teaches at the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies.  Executive Producer of the program is Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.

Here is the photo album from the workshop:


Honey Do 4th of July Wins Chatham Poetry Contest

What, you may ask, does this have to do with Oaxaca?  Nothing, except that I wrote it and submitted it to our local poetry group as part of the 4th of July poetry contest just before leaving for Oaxaca.  Lo and behold, I return to discover I “won” for this little, fluffy ditty.  We all know the “honey do” list, don’t we?

Honey Do 4th of July

Please mow the grass, dear
What, you didn’t hear?
Let me say it again loud and clear.

Make sure the cooler is filled with ice
Cut the watermelon with an even slice
Sorry, did I forget to be nice?

Fill the lanterns with citronella oil
So mosquitoes don’t cause our guests to recoil.
Next, pat the burgers onto aluminum foil.

Light the grill an hour before cooking
Just to make sure the coals are hot smoking
That’s right, honey, keep checking and looking.

Oh, my goodness, what did we forget?
Got the beer? Got the wine? No, not yet?
Hurry, not much time, but try not to fret.

Move the picnic table, take out the trash,
Find the plastic stack chairs for this bash,
It’s important that we make big splash.

My boss will arrive early, her habit I know,
She likes her scotch neat, her young beau in toe,
Better stop at the ABC store, got enough dough?

One more thing, honey, please, to do if you can,
Put out ketchup, mustard, the honey roast ham.
Then the kitchen floor needs mopping, use Spic ‘n Span.

What shall we do if people stay late?
More than four hours and I’m going to hate
That I offered to host with such a full plate.

Whew, so much to do, I’m tired already,
I need a break ‘cause my knees are unsteady.
Last thing, run the flag up the pole, dear Betty.

Fourth of July comes but once a year,
It’s so much work for a few hours of cheer.
Thanks for your help to get ready, my dear.

-Norma Hawthorne, July 2009

Woven Together: Entretejidos — Oaxaca Documentary Film

This short film was written, filmed and directed by the team of Eunice Hogeveen and Sarah Kennedy Davis and created as part of the Oaxaca Documentary Filmmaking Workshop: Visual Storytelling, which was held in the village of Teotitlan del Valle from January 31 to February 6, 2009.  Enjoy!


The film tells the story of an expatriate American woman, Annie Burns, who has moved to a small village in southern Mexico and her relationship with her host Zapotec family.

Instructors were Erica Rothman, Nighlight Productions, Chapel Hill, NC, and Mikel Barton, Durham, NC.  The workshop was produced by Norma Hawthorne and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.  We hope to hold the next documentary filmmaking workshop in winter 2010.

Weaving a Curve: A Documentary Short Film

Eric Chavez Sosa and I made this six minute short documentary film during the January 31-February 6 workshop held by Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC in Teotitlan del Valle.  It was our first film making collaboration and we were definitely novices!   Here it is:


“Weaving a Curve” featuring master weaver Federico Chavez Sosa.  He talks about the techniques he learned from his father and another village master who taught him to weave in the style of Francisco Toledo.  At the age of 17, Federico was an expert weaver.  To weave a curve and perfect the technique requires discipline and practice.  He remembers taking the yarn out and trying again, and again, and again.  Federico loves to weave, and the process for him is both relaxing and fun.  He also explains how he uses natural dyes to prepare the wool, another sign of a master weaver.  As the camera pans the village and the sacred Zapotec site of mount Picacho, Federico talks about the meaning of weaving for him personally and how satisfying it is when his work is appreciated by collectors.   For Federico, mastery means the blending of traditional and contemporary designs, the true mark of an artist, and the timeless quality of linking past with future.

Eric and I didn’t have time to finish this piece — it is in Spanish without subtitles.  So, please forgive us and enjoy the visuals if you don’t completely understand the language.  Maybe someday soon, we’ll add the subtitles!

I also want to acknowledge the mastery of our workshop instructors, Erica Rothman of Nighlight Productions, Durham, NC, and Mikel Barton, also of Durham.  They were fabuloso!

The process:  for five days were were immersed in a learning laboratory experience in the village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca.  We after two days of classroom instruction and watching examples of documentary footage, we took to the cameras to practice interview techniques and shooting b-roll.  We had 60 minutes of tape to use with the goal of producing a 3-5 minute finished video.  Unfortunately for us, we used about 20 minutes to practice shooting b-roll which turned out mostly to be sunrise and clouds.  You can see a snippet in our opening scene.