Our Penland School of Crafts group travels through Oaxaca arts and artisan villages this week. One destination is the regional town of Ocotlan de Morales where we met artist Rodolfo Morales through the murals he painted in the municipal building during the mid-century. These frescoes depict the rich agricultural tradition of the Ocotlan valley and honors the labor of the campesinos — the people who till, plant and harvest.
The Morales home is a treasure trove of 1930’s and 1940’s collectibles and folk art. It includes a traditional tile kitchen with walls adorned in tiny clay cooking vessels. Every room opens to a central, plant-filled patio.
The primary caretaker of the home is nephew Alberto Morales, who greeted us at the front gate and let us inside. He is also the head of the Morales Foundation that keeps the house renovated and open to the public. On our request, he generously opened the private bedroom and studio where his uncle slept and worked.
With more than an hour to explore the always diverse and culturally delicious Friday Ocotlan market tianguis …
we went off to San Antonino Castillo Velasco to visit folk art potter Jose Garcia Antonio. Jose and his family work in red clay sculpture and he is recognized as a Grand Master of Oaxaca Folk Art.
Next, a quick stop to the women’s embroidery cooperative. The quick stop became an hour-long shopping forage through the piles of gorgeous Oaxaca wedding dress style blouses and shirts, preceded by a demonstration about pattern making and stitching techniques. This coop is excellent quality with affordable prices!
Fortified by a delicious lunch at Azucenas Zapotecas at the San Martin Tilcajete crossroads, we backtracked to Santo Tomas Jalieza for a visit with Grand Master of Oaxaca Folk Art weaving family of Abigail Mendoza.
Oaxaca Cultural Navigator organizes arts workshop study tours for groups of up to ten people. Please contact us for more information. Norma Hawthorne Shafer has over 30 years experience developing award-winning university programs.