Today I am offering 9 treasures from my collection for sale. These are pieces I have never or rarely worn. They live in my Durham, NC, closet. Many of you know that I am now walking 8,000 to 10,000 steps at least four times a week and have maintained size small for almost two years. These beautiful clothes are now way too big for me to wear. I’ve decided it is time for these pieces to be with others who appreciate them as much as I do.
To Buy: Send me an email — firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, and item number. I will send you a PayPal invoice to pay with credit card. Please be sure to use the payment option “sending to family and friends.” Once I receive your funds, I will mail via USPS to anywhere in the USA. I will add on $12 for mailing to the invoice. Thank you VERY much.
#1 is from the Oaxaca coast in Santiago Ixtlayutla, near Pinotepa de Don Luis. It uses fuchsine dye, which locals call “cochineal” but it isn’t! It actually creates a more purple stain on cotton cloth that then bleeds intentionally into the base fabric. Fine silk thread is woven as the supplementary weft creating the figures in the cotton cloth. It is the silk that takes the dye after the piece is finished. The style is to dye and fold the cloth, soaking it in water so that the dye runs into patterns that are mirrored into the surrounding cloth. Those of us who know these textiles, covet and cherish them. The finishing joinery stitches on this one are very secure and fine.
All fuchsine-dyed garments are rare and collectible!
Notes from Traditional Innovation in Oaxaca Textiles: There is another colour that can be found in several textiles from Oaxaca: fuchsia. The costume of men and women from the Mixtec town of Santiago Ixtayutla use locally-raised silk from San Mateo Peñasco, where silk is dyed with fuchsine, a magenta dye invented in mid-19th century which chemical composition is rosaniline hydrochloride. Since these dyes arrived in Mexico during the second half of the 19th c., weavers started using them: they were quick to use and cheap to obtain.
SOLD. #4 is from the warm, humid coastal region of Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas, where lightweight hand-woven textiles are preferred. This is fine cotton woven on a back-strap loom. The colorful figures uses synthetically-dyed cotton in the supplementary weft. Measures 25″ wide x 25-1/2 long — size L-XL.
SOLD. #5 is woven on a back-strap loom in a Chiapas village of medium-weight cotton, hand-tied fringes. The design is incorporated in the weaving using the supplementary weft technique. It is not embroidered!
SOLD. #6 is a medium-weight cotton poncho with hot red needle work down the front to join the two pieces of cloth together. This is an unusual piece because of the texture of two different weaving styles used in the cloth (it does not have a seam). The front of the piece is shorter, hanging hip length and the back hangs longer to cover the rear!
SOLD. #7 was purchased from Remigio Mestas’ Oaxaca city shop Los Baules de Juana Cata. He is cited as a top authority on Oaxaca textiles, and offers only the finest woven and naturally dyed fabrics for sale, created by the best weavers. The dye is called Palo de Aguila, which translates to Alderwood, and is found in the Sierra Mixe of Oaxaca.
SOLD. #8 is from the back-strap loom weaving village of Pinotepa de Don Luis. There is a very fine young weaver there named Sebastiana Guzman Hernandez. She was educated and worked as an engineer but preferred to weave and rescue her family’s indigenous traditions. I purchased this huipil from her workshop studio in the village. She dyes the indigo and buys the caracol purpura threads from the few local dyers who collect the rare purple snail dye from the Oaxaca coast.
SOLD. #9 is a slinky blouse, machine embroidery on polyester, with see-through eyelet detail from Zinacantan, Chiapas. It is not hemmed because traditional women will tuck this inside their wrap-around skirts.
We need color in our lives right now. I dress up for Zoom and FaceTime calls. It feels good to wear something special and put on a little lipstick! When I go out to walk or to the market (always with mask and social distancing), I put on a colorful Mexican top or dress. Today, I’m meeting a friend for a picnic (six-to-eight feet distance) on a blanket at the North Carolina Museum of Art sculpture park. We then walk in the fresh air along the trails, mindful of others. I’ll wear one of my Oaxaca pieces today, too.
I have listed 23 items from my collection for sale. In addition to clothing, the selection includes napkins, woven bags, coin purses, tea towels.
To Buy: Send me an email to email@example.com with your name, address, and item number. I will send you a PayPal invoice to pay with credit card. Once I receive your funds, I will mail via USPS to anywhere in the USA. I will add on $12 for mailing to the invoice. Thank you VERY much.
I just discovered Instacart. It’s an App. I create the shopping list. Someone else goes to the store. I stay safe inside. I pay with my credit card. The shopper delivers the goods to my doorstep within hours after ordering. No more bare cupboard. It’s a miracle. And, I’m still safe and healthy, isolated, and needing a distraction.
So, I made some beautiful black clay pottery beaded necklaces this week. The beads are hand-rolled, individually formed in San Bartolo Coyotepec, Oaxaca. The artist, Adelina Pedro Martinez, is from a famous family that works in traditional high-temperature pit firing, fueled by wood. I have four necklaces to sell, listed below.
In addition, I brought with me filigree and amber earrings, a finely embroidered blouse, and an assortment of other lovely pieces made in Oaxaca and Chiapas.
Thankfully, the USPS is operational, so I can package these up and get them to you within a reasonable time from my sequestered place in Southern California. I’ll ship USPS Priority Mail.
How to Buy: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me the item number, price, your name, mailing address. I will send you an invoice to purchase with a PayPal link. The total cost will be the item price plus $12 USD mailing cost.
A note about the black clay pearls: Each pearl ball is formed by hand. The stringing hole is made by hand while soft with a stick. When leather-hard, they are polished with a stone. Then they are baked in a wood-fired pit oven. Each pearl, therefore, has blemishes and irregularities, which make it an unique object of handmade beauty. If you are looking for perfection, these are not for you!
#11 and #12 are handcrafted in Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico by an outstanding craftsman who hand-cuts gemstones and inlays them on shell. These include onyx, mother-of-pearl, coral, turquoise and sterling silver. Selling for less than what I paid for them.
Here, I am sharing four short videos from our recent 2020 Chiapas Textile Study Tour. They each explain the symbols that women weave into their cloth.
The first two videos introduce you to Albert Lopez Gomez and his reason for starting a cooperative to help his family and village of Magdalena Aldama. He wants to bring international recognition that weavers deserve for maintaining textile traditions.
The last video features Alberto Gomez Gomez from neighboring San Andres Larrainzar. Here, he explains the meaning of a small textile with 160 warp threads. It took his mother Antonia Gomez Santis two weeks to weave working five to six hours a day on the back-strap loom.
The Maya World of Chiapas, Mexico, spans centuries and borders. Maya people weave their complex universe into beautiful cloth. Symbols are part of an ancient pre-Hispanic animist belief system. In the cloth we see frogs, the plumed serpent, woman and man, earth and sky, the four cardinal points, moon and sun, plus more, depending on each weaver.
We go deep into the Mayan world of southern Mexico, from February 23 to March 3, 2021. While we focus on textiles, we also explore what it means to be indigenous, part of cooperative, live in a remote village, have agency and access to economic opportunity. We meet creative, innovative and talented people who open their doors and welcome us.
Our dates of February 23 to March 3, 2021, are reserved in a fine historic hotel. 8 nights, 9 days in and around the San Cristobal de Las Casas highlands.
Cost • $2,695 double room with private bath (sleeps 2) • $3,195 single room with private bath (sleeps 1)
We are based in the historic Chiapas mountain town of San Cristobal de las Casas, the center of the Maya world in Mexico. Here we will explore the textile traditions of ancient people who weave on back strap looms.
Women made cloth on simple looms here long before the Spanish conquest in 1521 and their techniques translate into stunning garments admired and collected throughout the world today. Colorful. Vibrant. Warm. Exotic. Connecting. Words that hardly describe the experience that awaits you.
We are committed to give you a rich cultural immersion experience that goes deep rather than broad. We cover a lot of territory. That is why we are spending eight nights in this amazing Pueblo Magico — Magic Town — to focus on Maya textiles, weaving and embroidery traditions.
Our cultural journey takes us into villages, homes and workshops to meet the people who keep their traditions vibrant. We explore churches, museums and ancient cemeteries. This is an interpersonal experience to better know and appreciate Mexico’s amazing artisans.
There will be only ONE study tour to Chiapas in 2021.
Your Study Tour Leader is Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. Sheri Brautigam, author of Living Textiles of Mexico, will be your expert resource guide.
Take this study tour to learn about:
culture, history and identity of cloth
cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation
wool spinning and weaving
clothing design and construction
embroidery and supplementary (pick-up) weft
Maya textile designs — iconography and significance
village and individual identity through clothing
social justice, opportunities and women’s issues
market days and mercantile economy
local cuisine, coffee, cacao and chocolate
quality and value
We work with one of San Cristobal’s best bilingual cultural guides who has worked with weavers and artisans in the region. Alejandro is a native Mexican who knows textiles and can explain the meaning of the woven symbols embedded in the cloth. You will enjoy learning from him.
We will travel in a comfortable van as we go deep into the Maya world.
We visit 6 Maya weaving villages
We enjoy home-cooked meals
We meet makers and directly support them
We go far and away, off-the-beaten path
We decode the weaving designs unique to each woman and village
We explore three towns on their market days
We understand the sacred, mysterious rituals of Maya beliefs
Who Should Attend Anyone who loves cloth, culture, and collaboration • Textile and fashion designers • Weavers, embroiderers and collectors • Photographers and artists who want inspiration • Resellers
Tuesday, February 23: Travel day. Arrive and meet at our hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas. You will receive directions to get from the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport to our hotel. The airport is a clean and modern facility with straightforward signage. You will book your flight to Tuxtla from Mexico City on either Interjet, AeroMar, Volaris or Aeromexico. There are plenty of taxis and shuttle services to take you there. Your cost of transportation to/from San Cristobal is on your own. Taxis are about $55 USD or 800 pesos. Shared shuttle is 180 pesos or about $10 USD.
Wednesday, February 24: On our first day in San Cristobal de las Casas, we orient you to the textiles of the Maya World. You will learn about weaving and embroidery traditions, patterns and symbols, women and villages, history and culture. After a breakfast discussion, we will visit Centro Textiles Mundo Maya museum, Sna Jolobil Museum Shop for fine regional textiles, meander the Santo Domingo outdoor market that takes over the plaza in front of the church, and visit two outstanding textile shops. We guide you along the walking streets to get your bearings. We finish the morning together with a Group Welcome Lunch. (B, L)
Thursday, February 25: Tenejapa is about an hour and a world away from San Cristobal de Las Casas. Today is market day when villagers line the streets filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and household supplies. Peer into dimly lit doorways to find hidden textile treasures. We’ll meander the market to see what’s there. In years past, I’ve found some stunning shawls, huipils and bags. Keep your eyes open. Then, we will visit the outstanding textile cooperative founded by Doña Maria Meza Giron. After a box lunch at the centuries- old Romerillo Maya cemetery, we continue on up another mountain to visit Maruch (Maria), a Chamula woman at her rural home. Surrounded by sheep and goats, Maruch will demonstrate back strap loom weaving and wool carding, and how she makes long-haired wool skirts, tunics and shawls. Perhaps there will be some treasures to consider. Return to San Cristobal de Las Casas in time for dinner on your own. (B, L)
Friday, February 26: After breakfast, we set out for a full morning at Na Bolom, Jaguar House, the home of anthropologist Franz Blom and his photographer wife, Gertrude Duby Blom. The house is now a museum filled with pre-Hispanic folk art and jewelry. We walk the gardens and learn about Franz and Trudy’s work with the Lacandon tribe and their relationship with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. After hot chocolate there we go to the outskirts of town to an outstanding women’s weaving cooperative that was founded over 40 years ago. You will learn about international collaborations and textile design that conserves traditions while meeting marketplace needs for exquisite and utilitarian cloth. After lunch on your own, we meet in the early evening to visit Museo de Trajes Regionales and humanitarian healer Sergio Castro, who has a large private collection of Maya indigenous daily and ceremonial dress representing each Chiapas region. (B)
Saturday, February 27: We set out by foot to a nearby textile collaboration that houses three different cooperative groups, one of which is founded by Alberto Lopez Gomez who was invited to New York Fashion Week in 2019. We hear presentations about creativity, style, innovation, and how to incorporate tradition while breaking new ground. Next, we stop at Los Leñateros, the hand-made paper workshop that is also a graphics arts print studio. You will have the afternoon and evening on your own. (B)
Sunday, February 28: This is a big day! First we go to San Lorenzo Zinacantan, where greenhouses cover the hillsides. Here, indigenous dress is embellished in exquisite floral designs, mimicking the flowers they grow. First we meander the open-air market, then visit the church, bedecked in fresh flowers. Next stop is magical, mystical San Juan Chamula where the once-Catholic church is given over to a pre-Hispanic pagan religious practice that involves chickens, eggs and coca-cola. You’ll find out why. We’ll roam Chamula’s abundant textile market, compare and contrast fabrics and designs. (B, L) Dinner on your own.
Monday, March 1: Today, we make a study tour to the textile villages of San Andres Larrainzer and Magdalena Aldama. This is another ultimate cultural experience to immerse yourself into families of weavers in their humble homes. We will see how they weave and embroider beautiful, fine textiles, ones you cannot find in the city markets or shops. They will host a show and sale for us, and we will join them around the open hearth for a warming meal of free range chicken soup, house made tortillas, and of course, a sip of posh! (B, L)
Tuesday, March 2: This is expoventa day! We have invited one of the finest embroiderers of Aguacatenango blouses, an amber wholesaler, an organic coffee grower/roaster, and other artisans to show and sell their work. Afternoon is on your own to do last minute shopping and packing in preparation for your trip home. We end our study tour with a gala group goodbye dinner. (B, D)
Wednesday, March 3. Depart. You will arrange your own transportation from San Cristobal to the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport. The hotel guest services can help. It takes about 1-1/2 hours to get to Tuxtla, plus 1-2 hours for check-in. Connect from Tuxtla to Mexico City and then on to your home country.
What Is Included
• 8 nights lodging at a top-rated San Cristobal de las Casas hotel within walking distance to the historic center and pedestrian streets
• 8 breakfasts • 4 lunches • 1 grand finale gala dinner
• museum and church entry fees
• luxury van transportation
• outstanding and complete guide services
The workshop does NOT include airfare, taxes, tips, travel insurance, liquor or alcoholic beverages, some meals, and local transportation as specified in the itinerary. We reserve the right to substitute instructors and alter the program as needed.
Cost • $2,695 double room with private bath (sleeps 2) • $3,195 single room with private bath (sleeps 1)
Reservations and Cancellations. A 40% deposit is required to guarantee your spot. The balance is due in two equal payments. The second payment of 30% of the total is due on or before October 1, 2020. The third 30% payment is due on or before December 15, 2020. We accept payment using online e-commerce only. We will send you an itemized invoice when you tell us you are ready to register. After December 15, 2020, there are no refunds. If you cancel on or before December 15, 2020, we will refund 50% of your deposit received to date. After that, there are no refunds.
All documentation for plane reservations, required travel insurance, and personal health issues must be received 45 days before the program start or we reserve the right to cancel your registration without reimbursement.
How to Register: First, complete the Registration Form and send it to us. We will then send you an invoice to make your reservation deposit.
Terrain, Walking and Group Courtesy: San Cristobal de las Casas is a hill-town in south central Chiapas, the Mexican state that borders Guatemala. The altitude is 7,000 feet. Streets and sidewalks are cobblestones, mostly narrow and have high curbs. Pavement stones are slippery, especially when walking across driveways that slant across the sidewalk to the street. We will do a lot of walking. Being here is a walker’s delight because there are three flat streets devoted exclusively to walking. We walk a lot — up to 10,000 steps per day at a moderate pace. We recommend you bring a walking stick.
NOTE: If you have mobility issues or health/breathing impediments, please consider that this may not be the program for you.
Traveling with a small group has its advantages and also means that independent travelers will need to make accommodations to group needs and schedule. We include plenty of free time to go off on your own if you wish.
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
Norma contributes personal essay, How Oaxaca Became Home
Norma Contributes Two Chapters!
Click image to order yours!
Norma Schafer and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC has offered programs in Mexico since 2006. We have over 30 years of university program development experience. See my resume.
Study Tours + Study Abroad are personally curated and introduce you to Mexico's greatest artisans. They are off-the-beaten path, internationally recognized. We give you access to where people live and work. Yes, it is safe and secure to travel. Groups are limited in size for the most personal experience.
Programs can be scheduled to meet your travel plans. Send us your available dates.
Designers, retailers, wholesalers, universities and other organizations come to us to develop customized itineraries, study abroad programs, meetings and conferences. It's our pleasure to make arrangements.
Our Clients Include
*Penland School of Crafts
*North Carolina State University
*WARP Weave a Real Peace
We send printable map via email PDF usually within 48-hours after order received. Where to see natural dyed rugs in Teotitlan del Valle and layout of the Sunday Tlacolula Market, with favorite eating, shopping, ATMs. Click Here to Buy Map
Dye Master Dolores Santiago Arrellanas with son Omar Chavez Santiago, weaver and dyer, Fey y Lola Rugs, Teotitlan del Valle