Tag Archives: shopping

Post-Thanksgiving Oaxaca Jewelry + Clothing Extravaganza

I’m going to the US for an impromptu short visit before the Winter Holidays, returning to Oaxaca on December 24. Need a couple of routine exams. No worries.

So, I’m offering this pre-sale. Buy it now and I’ll bring it with me and mail by December 15.  18 Items. Just-in-time unique gifts, all made by hand and personally curated. Keep scrolling.

How to buy: Send me an email and tell me which item you want BY NUMBER.  Include your mailing address. I will send you a PayPal invoice for the cost, plus $8 for USPS priority mail. If you live outside the USA, ask about mailing fees.

#1 All natural dyes, San Juan Colorado

#1 SOLD is from the oldest women’s weaving and dyeing cooperative in San Juan Colorado, Jini Nuu. Our textile study group will meet them on the Oaxaca Coast Tour, but you can have one, too. They use the drop spindle to spin the wild, native cotton and weave using the back strap loom. This is a short blouse, 3″ long from the shoulder and 26″ wide across the front, side seam to side seam. NEW. It’s called a blusa, seams and finish work all hand-embroidered. Natural dyes include Coyuchi brown cotton unique to Oaxaca, wild marigold and cochineal. Size L-XL. $175 USD plus mailing.

#1 Pattern woven into the cloth

#1 needlework seam joinery

#2 Wool and Cotton Shawl with Indigo

#2 SOLD is Oaxaca’s version of ikat. The wool is tied and dyed with indigo. The loom is warped with highest quality cotton. Lightweight, warm and drapes beautifully. 24″wide x 80″ long. NEW. Large and long, cozy enough to wrap around your neck or use as a throw. $145 USD plus mailing.

#3 Wild Marigold and Indigo Shawl

#3 SOLD is also ikat. NEW. The wool is tied and dyed with wild marigold interlaced with indigo. The loom is warped with highest quality cotton. Lightweight, warm and drapes beautifully. 24″ wide x 80″ long. Large and long, cozy enough to wrap around your neck or use as a throw. $165 USD plus mailing.

#4 Zayzelle indigo block print tunic

#4 is a hand-stamped 100% cotton fabric, indigo on white. I bought this yardage in Ahmedabad, India and just had it made into a Zayzelle tunic. NEW. Short sleeves with deep pockets and French seams. Size L-XL. $135 USD plus mailing.

#5 Deep blue dangle earrings

#5. New. Pair these hand-carved gourd earrings made on the Oaxaca coast with #4 for Blue Pizzaz. 4″ long from ear hole, 3″ diameter. $45 USD plus mailing.

#6 Save the Turtles

#6 are hand-carved gourd dangle earrings adorned with endangered  sea turtles that lay their eggs on the coast every winter. NEW. 3-1/2″ long from ear hole, 2-3/4″ diameter. $45 plus mailing.

For Zayzelle Dress dimensions, see https://zayzelle.com

#7 Zayzelle India block print dress with deep pockets

#7 I brought this beautiful block print fabric back from Ahmedabad, India, and just had it made up into a Zayzelle dress, long sleeves, lightweight 100% cotton dyed with madder. NEW. Size L-XL with deep patch pockets. $165 USD plus mailing.

#8 Black Stars Earrings

#8 hand-carved gourd earrings, dramatic and lightweight, made on the Oaxaca coast. NEW. 4″ long from ear hole, 3″ diameter. $45 plus mailing.

#9 Vintage 12K gold filigree and pearl dangle earrings

#9 SOLD Three baskets of pearls swirled with filigree, hand-made, Mexican vintage 12 karat gold with French hooks. Dress up or wear with jeans! $265 plus mailing.

#10 Zayzelle Think Spring dress

#10 is a lovely, soft, easy-to-wear spring green linen dress in my exclusive Zayzelle design, with top-stitched deep patch pockets. NEW. Long sleeves that can roll up for a more casual look. Wear over a long sleeve T and leggings for a Think Spring winter. Size L-XL. $155 USD plus mailing.

#11 earrings from Malinalco, Estado de Mexico, crotchet waxed linen

#11 Think Pink snowflakes or a full bloom flower. 3″ long from ear hole, 3″ diameter. NEW. Fun and fancy. $45 USD plus mailing.

#12 elegant VINTAGE earrings, Gusanos, silver on gold filigree with white sapphires

#12 is a vintage Oaxaca pair of earrings with 14k gold backs and hooks, studded with sparkly white sapphires set in silver, with drop pearls. 2-1/4″ long x 3/4″ wide. $185 USD plus mailing.

#13 Lavender blue gourd earrings

#13 earrings hand carved from gourds on the Oaxaca coast, NEW, 3-1/2″ long from ear hole, 2-3/4″ diameter. $55 USD plus mailing.

#14 Zayzelle natural cotton dress

#14 SOLD our Zayzelle pattern in a soft, cream manta cotton woven in Puebla state. NEW. The fabric has a subtle cross-hatch pattern that gives it texture, luxurious and comfortable. Size L-XL.  $135 USD plus mailing.

#15A and #15B two 12K gold filigree rings, priced each. Vintage.

#15A (top) and #15 B SOLD (bottom)are $65 USD each plus mailing. They are 12K gold filigree and handmade in the state of Veracruz. Size 5-1/2 or 6. Can be sized by a jeweler. Please specify which you want.

#16 Hot Tomato Red Dangle Earrings

#16 are hand-carved gourd earrings from the coast of Oaxaca. NEW. 4″ long from ear hole, 3″ diameter. $55 USD plus mailing.

#17 Verdant Blusa from Aguacatenango, Chiapas, with extraordinary details

#17 All this smocking and embroidery is made by hand in the village of Aguacatenango, Chiapas. Blouse fits size L-XL.  $65 USD plus mailing.

#18 Unisex Winter Green Shirt, weighty cotton

#18 SOLD is a casual shirt woven on a back strap loom in Chiapas, Mexico. NEW. It will fit a Men’s Size Small or a Woman’s Size L-XL. Seams are hand stitched, secure. Side slits. Roll up your sleeves, if you wish. $35 USD plus mailing.

P.S. Two spaces open in our Chiapas Textile Study Tour, end of February 2019.

To Be Continued!

To Bargain or Not in Mexico?

The on-going discussion endures about whether one bargains in Mexico with vendors for a lower price. Is it a cultural norm or expectation?  Many say, Yes.

Colorful Oaxaca armadillo now tops my bookcase. I paid the ask price.

Others resist for obvious reasons. Why? The exchange rate is in favor of Europeans, Estadounidenses (those from USA) and Canadienses (those from Canada). Mexicans have always been undervalued for their labor.

Chiapas potter/clay sculptor. Small jaguars are 150 pesos.

They say the average daily Mexican wage is 150-200 pesos. I’ve also heard 88 pesos a day and 100 pesos a day. At today’s exchange rate of 18.2 pesos to the USD, 200 pesos is about $11 USD per day. In Chiapas, where I just returned from, skilled women weavers on the back-strap loom, creating garments with intricate supplemental weft, earn about 30 pesos per hour.

Here’s what my friend and colleague Sheri Brautigam, in her book Textile Fiestas of Mexico, says about shopping and bargaining:

“I know everyone likes to get a deal, but I feel this attitude takes advantage of the position of the artisan who made the item; it’s an exploitation model of the past.

For the most part, artisans are quite humble when they present their work, and they possibly have in mind the price they would like to get for their item. Often, almost immediately, they will bring the price down if they see you hesitate more than a few seconds. They want you to buy it. This is because local Mexicans are ruthless when they bargain, and the artisan — if she really is in need of making a sale for her survival — can be reduced to selling the item for barely the cost of the materials.”

hand-woven huipil takes three months to make.

There is more, of course.  I suggest you get this valuable Traveler’s Guide to Celebrations, Markets and Smart Shopping.

The same applies to all artisan craft throughout Mexico, not just textiles. Pottery. Carved and painted wood figures. Masks. Guitars. Silver jewelry. Handcrafted food.

Organic pumpkin pie with corn meal crust, $3 USD, from Jorge Daniel Bautista, Union Zapata

Think about your position when you ask for a discount. You are the person NOT making 200 pesos per day. If an item costs 500 pesos and you want it for 400, in all likelihood it is priced fairly and the extra 100 pesos represents almost a full day of work to the maker. To you, it is a $5 difference. A cup of coffee at Starbucks.

We have this discussion among expats and visitors in Oaxaca all the time — to bargain or not? There is a private Facebook group, Clandestine Oaxaca Appreciation Society, where members address the question repeatedly.

Intricately embroidered blouse, San Bartolome Ayautla, 8 months to make

Many who are proponents of bargaining are like Accidental Tourists, armchair travelers who occasionally get out of their seats, embark on a vacation and think that bargaining is part of the entertainment. Anne Tyler’s protagonist in her novel hates traveling, and does so only “with his eyes shut and holding his breath and hanging on for dear life.” Yet, he enjoys “the virtuous delights of organizing a disorganized country” while pretending he never left home. Does this sound like anyone you know?

Why do artisans lower their prices?

  • The season is slow and sales haven’t been good
  • They need money for food, to pay rent, to buy gasoline, to buy raw materials, to pay for school books and bus fare — in other words, cash flow
  • There’s a family emergency, and since this is a cash economy, they need cash
  • They may have lower self-esteem because they are the underclass, treated to believe that what they make has little or no value

What do you think?

Why do tourists bargain?

I think about this question in terms of cultural, political and socio-economic disparities. It might include being unconscious about where we are and our relationship to the people around us. We might conjure up the stereotypical image of Mexico thirty or forty years ago and apply it today. Perhaps, we are totally unaware of the daily or artisan wage. We might say, Oh, it’s cheaper to live here, they don’t need as much. We assume that the government takes care of its poor. (There is no social security in Mexico.) We like the power that the exchange rate gives us and the ability to strike a deal.

What is the value of a natural dye wool rug, 8 weeks in the making?

What about the foreign community from the USA and Canada who live in Oaxaca full-time or for many months of the year? We might say:

  • Tourism drives up local prices, from artisanry to rents
  • We learn to identify higher prices and walk away from them
  • We understand that if we buy five or 10 items, we can ask if there is a discount
  • We know that if we use a credit card, the merchant/vendor is paying 16% tax at a minimum
  • We ask if there is a discount for cash
  • We want to buy local and direct from the artisan, so we don’t pay overhead
  • We want the price to be in pesos, not US dollars
  • We are careful because we are retired, on a fixed income, and while we love the art, we can’t usually afford it
  • Art is subjective, and the price is based on what the seller and buyer agree to

What do you think?

I’ve been thinking about bargaining in today’s Mexico consumer environment where class and race drives business and success. Is it institutional racism to bargain and drive a hard bargain with an indigenous person who has few resources, little or no education, and limited health care access?

Juana and her granddaughter, Luz Angelica. Her future?

Only each of us can answer this for ourselves. Are we willing to look at our own buying behavior and make adjustments? What is our personal view of cultural sensitivity?

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

A Bunch of Earrings and a Necklace: Jewelry Sale

I’m back in North Carolina for a while and I’m going through my 20+ year treasure collection. The pieces I’m offering for sale today are jewelry from the bygone years, an eclectic mix of “needed for professional life” or an “artistic point-of-view” that no longer fits my lifestyle. I’ll be listing an eclectic mix of pieces over the next weeks. Keep your eyes open! They are one-of-a-kind!

You get first choice before I list these on eBay and in my Etsy shop.

Nine (9) items offered today. Please email me with your interest (norma.schafer@icloud.com), plus address, specify August 13 and item number. I will calculate postage and send you an invoice.

#1.  SOLD. John Hardy Pearl, 18K Gold and 925 Silver Earrings. 14K gold posts. 6mm (approx) pearls set in 1/2″ diameter bezel, 1-1/2″ long, mesh silver ball topped with 18K gold crown. Bought at Saks 5th Avenue, 1990’s. Vintage. $165. plus shipping. No signs of wear.

#2. SOLD. Artisan-designed and hand-made sterling silver leaf and flower necklace 16″ long including clasp. Flowers have 14K gold centers. Bought at Smithsonian Crafts Show, Washington, D.C. $165. plus shipping.

#3. Contemporary Asheville, North Carolina jewelry artist Joanna Gollberg designed and made. I purchased these from her at the North Carolina Designer Crafts Show in 2003. Hand wrought sterling silver Ellipse (3a. left) and Stix (3b. right) earrings. $35. each pair. Plus shipping.

#4. I Don’t Remember Earrings. They are either platinum or white gold. Simple, functional. 5/8″ diameter. $85. plus shipping.

#5. Vintage Thailand Silver Fish Earrings, handmade. Bought in a Hill Tribe Village outside of Chang Mai, 1994. Old then. Fish dangles 1-1/2″ from hook eye. I have not polished these. $125. plus shipping.

#6. Abalone shell and silver triangle tiered earrings made by Chapel Hill, North Carolina, jewelry artist Rebecca Laughlin McNeigher. Shimmering abalone shell difficult to come by now. 2-1/2″ long. $95. plus shipping.

#7. Jade studs, approx. 5 to 6mm, with gold setting and post. $65. plus shipping.

#8. 14K Rose Gold ball earrings bought in Australia, 2002. 1″ long from curve of hook. Approx. 1/4″ dia. ball. $65. plus shipping.

#9. Rare spiny oyster pendant from South America with hand-made sterling silver setting/bale. 1-1/4″ long by 3/4″ wide at bottom. $65. plus shipping.

 

 

Eclectic Jewelry and Folk Art Collection Sale, August 11, 2017

I’m back in North Carolina for a while and it’s time to go through my collection of Mexican folk art, jewelry and contemporary American art pieces. I’m beginning to consider what I no longer use or wear and offer them for sale to you. I’ll be listing an eclectic mix of pieces over the next weeks. Keep your eyes open! They are one-of-a-kind!

  1. Taller Spratling Monkey (Taxco, Mexico) Copper Pendant inlaid with turquoise, with hand-woven copper chain made by a North Carolina artisan. Pendant is 2-1/4″ long by 1-3/4″ wide. Chain is 20″ long. Newer piece. Priced at $145 for both, plus shipping USPS.

William Spratling inspired the Taxco silversmith industry. He researched iconic pre-Hispanic Mexican designs, of which this is one. This is a newer piece with the stamp of the current owners who use the original molds. Shows some wear. Needs polishing.

2. SOLD. Huichol Lime and Turquoise Hand-Woven Cotton Shoulder Bag. This is a double-faced weave, which means you can turn the bag inside out and it becomes reversible. The bag is 9″x 9″ (approx.), with a 1-1/2″ gusset that continues into a 44″ long strap. Bag is woven on back-strap loom by Jalisco Huichol women. $85 plus shipping.

3. A la Frida Kahlo, Handmade Sterling Silver Filigree Earrings with Garnets from Patzcuaro, Michoacan. 2″ long and 7/8″ wide. Length measured from where hook affixes to earring. Add length for hook into earlobe. $95 plus postage.

4. Designer Jay Strongwater freshwater pearl, glass beads, sterling necklace, 16-1/2″ long, and Majorica 10mm black pearl studs, from Saks Fifth Avenue. Sold together. $185.00 plus mailing.

5. Frida Style Handmade Sterling Silver Earrings, hands with drop flowers, rose quartz centers, from top Oaxaca jewelry shop purchased over 10 years ago. They don’t make them like this any more. Size 1-1/2″ long from where hook meets hand and 3/4″ wide.  $158.00 plus mailing.

6. Turquoise and Red Huichol Shoulder Bag, handwoven in Jalisco, Mexico, double-faced on a back strap loom. Bag body measures 8″ x 8″.  Gusset and strap are 1-1/8″ wide. Strap is 42″ long from where it meets the body of the bag. Turn the bag inside out and it becomes reversible. Inside pocket and tassels on this one. $98.00 plus mailing.

Questions? Send me an email. Want to buy, send me an email with the number of the item, date of this blog post, plus your mailing address.  I will send you an invoice that includes mailing costs.

Thank you. Norma

Sunday Tlacolula Market Meander Map For Sale

It’s Sunday in the Oaxaca Valley. Time to spend the day at the amazing Tlacolula Market. Located about 45 minutes from Oaxaca City on the Carretera Nacional–Mexico 190–between Teotitlan del Valle and Mitla, the market is the biggest and IMHO, the best in the region.

Tlacolula market scene with aprons as cultural identity, meat grilling area

I suggest you get there by 11 a.m. and stay until at least 3 p.m. All transportation points you to Tlacolula on a Sunday. You can take a bus from the baseball stadium in the city or a colectivo from the same point. If you wish, hire a private driver and have him wait for you at about 180 pesos per hour.

I created this map because the market is complex and goes deep. You don’t want to miss anything! The map costs $9 USD. Please order at least 24-hours in advance. I send this to you as a jpg or PDF. You print it out and take it with you — for personal use only!

ORDER YOUR TLACOLULA MARKET MAP HERE!

There are some flash points to avoid for personal safety. The narrow arch that spills out from the church courtyard to the street that connects on the opposite side to the permanent market is where the purse-slashers and pick-pockets hang out. Don’t go through there, go around.

Assessing quality, style and price.

The map indicates my favorite place to eat, places to shop and to explore. You don’t want to miss any of it!  Where to taste the best nieves — ice cream — or sample agua miel, the unfermented first juice of the agave cactus filled with digestive health benefits.

With the map, you will know the streets, where to get cash at the ATM, how the town is laid out, where to get the colectivos, where to park, how far to meander without missing anything.

This map offers an option to those who want to know where they are going before they get there!

ORDER YOUR TLACOLULA MAP HERE!

Thank you for supporting Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We invest a lot of time writing the blog and publishing photos. This is one way to help underwrite our efforts.

Also available by advance order, to guide you to weavers who work only in natural dyes in the rug weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle.  $10 USD

SELF-GUIDED TOUR MAP TO TEOTITLAN DEL VALLE WEAVERS!

Colorful plastic woven baskets, Tlacolula Market. Map to buy!