Tag Archives: workshops

Artist Hollie Taylor Creates Frida Kahlo Retablos

At Casa Azul in Coyoacan, Mexico City, one of the largest collections of folk art ex-votos (also called retablos) hangs along with pre-Columbian art and memorabilia collected by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Ex-voto in Casa Azul, the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City

Traditional ex-voto/retablo in Casa Azul, the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City

They were avid supporters of artists who had no formal training but who represented the naive, populist art of Mexico.

I am broken but I am happy. Frida Kahlo Retablo by Hollie Taylor

Ex-votos are small devotional paintings that offer thanks or prayers to a saint for a gift granted, wish fulfilled or for good health. It usually includes a hand-written note of gratitude at the bottom of the painting.

After a foot amputation, Kahlo gave us this inspiration, interpreted by Hollie Taylor

Hollie Taylor is a North Carolina artist who loves Mexico and Frida Kahlo. On Friday, April 8, the North Carolina Crafts Gallery in Carrboro, hosts an opening reception for Hollie and artist colleague Madelyn Smoak from 6-9 p.m., Dreaming of Frida: Hollie & Madelyn at Casa Azul. 

Frida Kahlo Retablo by Hollie Taylor Novak

Hollie has  adapted the ex-voto concept to offer thanks to Frida for her courage, strength, femininity, resolve and creativity by creating Frida Retablos. These are small devotional wall plaques with many of the icons and sayings that represent Frida Kahlo.

Looking for Frida Kahlo + Diego Rivera in Mexico City Art History Study Tour

Kahlo studio at Casa Azul

Kahlo studio at Casa Azul, just as she left it

As we know, Frida’s health issues — childhood polio and a debilitating accident at age 18 that rendered it impossible for her body to carry a child — defined her and shaped her art. French artist Andre Breton named her a surrealist, a brand she refuted.

I paint because I need to. Frida Kahlo Retablo by Hollie Taylor

She was a woman who painted her emotions and that is what makes her a great artist. We can identify with her pain, passion and joy.

I paint self-portraits because. Frida Kahlo Retablos by Hollie Taylor

Hollie captures the spirit of Frida Kahlo in the retablos she created for this show. At the gallery, the retablos are offered at $58 USD.

Shrine to Frida Kahlo by Hollie Taylor

Shrine to Frida Kahlo by Hollie Taylor

You can order your retablo from Hollie at a direct-from-artist price.  They are lightweight, ready for hanging, made from collected objects on hand-painted rice-paper covered foam core.

Looking for Frida Kahlo + Diego Rivera in Mexico City Art History Study Tour

Hollie also teaches retablo workshops in her Chapel Hill home studio. Email her at hollietaylorart@icloud.com her for details about ordering and scheduling a workshop.

Hollie Taylor Novak, mixed media artist

Hollie Taylor Novak, mixed media artist

 

Travel Oaxaca’s Natural Dye Textiles + Weaving Trail: One-Day Study Tour

In this new program, we introduce you to weavers who work with organic natural dyes. This one-day educational study tour gives you in-depth knowledge about the artisanal process for making hand-woven cloth using sustainable technologies. We visit home studios and workshops to meet some of Oaxaca’s outstanding weavers in this curated day trip. See the real indigo, cochineal and wild marigold dye process. Meet artisans who create beautiful rugs and clothing.

Schedule your dates directly with Norma Schafer.

You reserve for the dates you prefer. This  is designed as a private program. You are welcome to organize your own small group.  We will do our best to match your travel schedule with our availability.

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Oaxaca has many talented weavers working on different types of looms: the two-harness pedal loom, the flying shuttle loom and the back-strap loom. They create many different types of cloth from wool, cotton and silk – to use, wear and walk on.

Wool Coch Red Bobbins62K

The yarns or threads can be hand-woven and made into tapestry carpets or wall hangings. They might become lighter weight garments such as shawls, ponchos and scarves or fashion accessories and home goods like handbags, travel bags, blankets, throws and pillow covers.

Most weavers dye their material using pre-mixed commercial dyes. Some buy their yarns pre-dyed. This streamlines and simplifies the production process, making the finished piece less costly. Often, there are wide quality differences.

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A growing number of weavers are going back to their indigenous roots and working in natural dyes. They use a time-consuming process to gather the dye materials, prepare them with tested recipes, dye the yarns and then weave them into cloth. These colors are vibrant and long-lasting. There is a premium for this type of hand work.

Master weaver from Teotitlan del Valle makes perfect curves with natural dyes

Master weaver from Teotitlan del Valle makes perfect curves with natural dyes

Dyeing and then weaving can take weeks and months, depending upon the finished size of the textile and type of weaving process used.

For each visit, we will select artisans who live and work in small villages scattered in the countryside around Oaxaca where families have co-created together for generations to prepare the yarn and weave it.

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Natural dyes we will investigate include plant materials like nuts, wild marigold, fruit (pomegranate, persimmon, zapote negro), wood bark and indigo.

Shades of cochineal -- a full range of color

Shades of cochineal — a full range of color

Another important dye source is cochineal, which is the parasite that feeds on the prickly pear cactus. The Spanish kept the cochineal secret well hidden for over 400 years, calling it grana cochineal or grain, so that English and Italian competitors could not detect its source.

Cochineal on prickly pear cactus paddle Striking design in cochineal, indigo, pericone, and natural wool

During this one-day outing, we will visit four or five weavers, see complete natural demonstrations of yarns and threads, learn about over-dyeing to get a full rainbow of colors, and savor the beautiful results that master weavers create.

We may not always visit the same weavers on each tour, based on their availability. At each home studio you will see some of the steps that go into the completed process. By the end of the day, you will have gained a fuller understanding of the difference between natural and commercial dyed cloth as well as the various weaving techniques. This will help you become a more educated collector, able to discern nuances in fiber and dye quality.

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More than this, you will learn about the local culture, the family enterprise of weaving, how weavers source their materials, the dedication to keeping this ancient practice alive. You will see how using natural dyes is a small-batch, organic and environmentally sustainable process. And, you will try your hand in the dye pot and at the loom, too, if you like.

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During this complete one-day study tour you will:

  • Meet master weavers and their families in their home workshop/studio
  • See the raw materials used for coloring wool, cotton and silk
  • Watch the weaving process and try your hand (and feet) at the fixed frame 2-harness pedal loom and flying shuttle loom — if you wish
  • Discuss the origin of cochineal, its impact on world trade and its many uses today
  • Learn how to tell the difference between dyed fibers – are they natural or chemical?
  • Observe processes for dyeing with indigo, cochineal, wild marigold and other organic materials
  • Understand quality differences and what makes a superior product
  • Discover the meaning of the various designs, some taken from ancient codices
  • Receive a Resource Guide and Glossary to take with you
  • Have an opportunity to shop, if you choose, at the source
  • Order a customized size, if you prefer

You are under no obligation to buy.

This is an educational study tour to give you more in-depth knowledge about the weaving and natural dye process. We offer a stipend to the weavers who take part to compensate them for their knowledge, time and materials. This is included in your tour fee.

Weavers do not pay commissions on any purchases made and 100% of any sales go directly to them.

Also consider these educational options:

About Norma Schafer, your study tour leader

Norma Schafer has organized educational programs and workshops in Oaxaca since 2006 through Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. She is an educator, not a tour guide, and is recognized for her knowledge about textiles and natural dyes.

Norma is living in the weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, since she retired from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011. Before that, she made frequent visits each year beginning in 2005. Norma has access to off-the-tourist-path small production family workshops where the “manufacturing” process is vertical and hand-made.

  • Earned the B.A. in history from California State University at Northridge
  • Holds the M.S. in business administration from the University of Notre Dame
  • 30-year career in higher education administration and program development
  • Created/produced international award-winning programs at Indiana University, University of Virginia, George Washington University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Recognized by the International University Continuing Education Association for outstanding educational program development
  • Founder/creator of Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC arts workshops/study tours in 2006
  • Founder/author of Oaxaca Cultural Navigator blog in 2007
  • Learned to weave and use natural dyes as a graduate student in San Francisco too many years ago to count!
  • Has a personal collection of more than 100 textiles made with natural dyes
  • Consultant to textile designers, wholesalers and retailers who want to include sustainable, organic textiles in their body of work and inventory
  • Consultant on tourism/economic development, State of Guanajuato, Mexico Office of Tourism
  • Embedded in the cultural and social history of Oaxaca’s Zapotec village life

IMG_4423 Dolores with Shadows

Note: From time-to-time, we will invite other distinguished and knowledgeable natural dye experts to join us or to substitute for Norma to lead the study tour, based upon schedules and availability. If Norma is not available on the date(s) you request, we will give you the option to take the study tour with another qualified leader.

Pricing is for a 6-7 hour day. Customized programs on request.  The rate constititutes the time you arrive to and depart from Teotitlan del Valle.

  • 1 or 2 people, $200 USD flat rate total, includes lunch
  • 3 to 4 people, $95 USD per person total, includes lunch
  • 5 to 8 people, $90 USD per person total, includes lunch
  • For larger groups, please contact us for special pricing

Includes transportation from/to Oaxaca city to our meeting place in Teotitlan del Valle, and lunch. Please let us know if you need vegetarian options. We will pre-order a tasting menu that includes a fresh fruit drink (agua fresca). Alcoholic beverages are at your own expense.

Schedule your dates directly with Norma Schafer. We will do our best to accommodate your requests.

Silk worms dining on mulberry leaves, Oaxaca, Mexico Wool dyed w moss

Reservations and Cancellations

We require a 50% deposit with PayPal (we will send an invoice) to reserve with the balance due on the day of the tour in USD or MXN pesos (at the current conversion rate). The PayPal amount billed will be based on the number of people you reserve for.

If you decide to cancel up to 30 days before the study tour, we will refund 50% of your deposit. If you reduce the number of people in your party with 30 days notice, we will pro-rate the deposit and offer a 50% refund for the number of cancelations.

After 30 days before your scheduled study tour, your deposit is not refundable. We will have made transportation arrangements and secured the dates/times with the weavers, plus paid them a stipend in advance for participating. We have learned, living in Mexico, that it is essential to keep commitments to sustain relationships. Thank you for understanding.

Folded pedal looms waiting for the next project

Folded pedal looms waiting for the next project

Oaxaca Women’s Creative Writing Retreat Gives Voice to Lee Schwartz

YogaFoodWriting-4Minerva Rising Literary Journal just published a piece written by Lee Schwartz on their blog that I want to share with you. Her voice is stunning, real, painful and alliterative. I love listening to her descriptions and following her words on the page. What she writes about has universal truth and especially resonates for me.

Lee attended the 2014 Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat in Oaxaca. We encouraged her to submit her pieces for publication and seek a wider audience so that many can enjoy her writing. She is coming back again in 2015.

Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat — July 2015

 

Lee wrote a piece at the 2014 retreat called Why I Eat which was edited and will appear in the next printed issue of Minerva Rising.

Our March retreat is filled. Ninety percent of our participants in this workshop return year after year. Many of them stretch to find their voice. Some are novice writers and others are more experienced. We learn from Professor Robin Greene and are inspired by each other.

Won’t you join us in July?

Oaxaca Faces: Photographs Up Close and Personal

Yesterday, Janet and I went to Cafe Brujula (the compass), a great little spot on Garcia Virgil that roasts its own beans. This before she went off to work in the morning, and I went out and about for a day filled with errands.  Some debate which is better, Cafe Brujula or Nuevo Mundo. You will have to come to Oaxaca and decide for yourself. Oaxaca shade-grown coffee, locally roasted, organic!

We were sitting at a shuttered window, open to the street talking and watching the passersby. The light was streaming into the dark space. The light on Janet’s face was so stunning that she consented to my request to photograph her. I told her she looked like a Zapotec queen.

Janet Chavez S. Portrait-3 Janet Chavez S. Portrait-5 Janet Chavez S. Portrait-4 Janet Chavez S. Portrait

The shadows played tricks on me. But, nevertheless, these photos capture her beauty. She is wearing a vintage huipil from Chiapas that I brought back last year.

Last week, Natividad and her husband Arnulfo came to visit me at the casita with their two boys, Arnulfo and Rodolfo. The boys contented themselves by swinging in the hammock and running up and down the stairs to the upstairs terrace.  I have since gone shopping at the Tlacolula market to get wooden trucks for them to play with the next time they come over.

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A lot of what I’ve learned about taking portraits (and I still have a lot more to learn) is because of Matt Nager.  Matt is the instructor for our upcoming Portrait Photography Workshop Tour set to start the end of January 2015.  If your interest is in having a memorable travel experience that includes photography instruction, then come along!  All levels with any type of camera are welcome.

And, don’t forget Day of the Dead Photography Workshop Tour that starts October 27, 2014.  Still spaces open.

 

 

Penland Travel Adventures: Exploring the Textile Traditions of Oaxaca

November 4-10, 2013 — 6 nights, 7 days of cultural immersion and discovery!  Click Here for Registration Form. Spaces open with full payment.

Questions? Call Norma Hawthorne at 919-274-6194 or send an email  normahawthorne@mac.com 

Penland School of Crafts, an international center for craft education located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, was founded on the principles and values of preserving and promulgating the rich textile traditions of local weaving culture. In keeping with these roots, we offer you a week-long cultural exchange and immersion to explore the indigenous textile world of Oaxaca, Mexico. Here the art and craft of weaving has been embedded in the culture for centuries. More than body covering, weaving reflects community and mirrors ancient designs adapted from the natural and physical environment. Vintage Garment 2b Juchitan Girl

The mountain ranges of Oaxaca state are scattered with traditional villages where women still weave using back-strap looms just as their ancestors did thousands of years ago. They create amazing textiles adorned with animal figures, plant life and sea creatures or patterns derived from the spiritual world. The woven textiles become shirts, blouses, dresses, scarves, shawls, table linens and floor rugs. The cotton and wool might be prepared with local natural dyes from wild marigold, pecan nuts, indigo or cochineal. Every piece has a back-story and is a testimony to the creativity and beauty that is Oaxaca today. We invite you to become a part of this exciting, personalized program. 

Market Scene2 Juchitan Woman

During our week together, you will

  • discover (or return to rediscover) the 16th century Spanish colonial city of Oaxaca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • meet textile experts, curators, museum directors and weavers
  • participate in a hands-on indigo dye workshop to create a shibori textile of your own design
  • create a nuno felted wool scarf on silk during a hands-on felt fashion workshop with one of Oaxaca’s leading designers
  • explore the famed Zapotec archeological site of Monte Alban with an expert English-speaking guide
  • sample local cuisine during a cooking class with a Rick Bayless-trained Zapotec teacher in her village kitchen
  • dine at some of Oaxaca’s greatest restaurants and meet the chefs
  • see Oaxaca like an insider through the eyes of Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator

Dolores w Blue Rug - Version 2 Avocados

Itinerary

Day 1: Monday, November 4, 2013. Participants will travel independently from their home city and arrive at the Oaxaca, Mexico, international airport. If you come directly from Houston, you will clear customs and immigration in Oaxaca. If you connect through Mexico City, you will clear customs and immigration there before boarding your connecting flight to Oaxaca. We will send you a complete travel guide one month before the program date. When you give us your flight arrival information, we will arrange private transportation to meet you at the airport and bring you a short distance to our comfortable Oaxaca city hotel. If you arrive in time, meet us in the lobby at 8:00 p.m. for a light supper, if you wish. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Oaxaca.

Day 2: Tuesday, November 5, 2013. Introduction to the textile traditions of Oaxaca. After breakfast, tour the Museo Textil de Oaxaca with education director Eric Chavez Santiago, discuss the collection and textile preservation techniques. We have invited special guests to demonstrate back-strap loom weaving techniques and to present a private show. Then, we will walk down the street and have a welcome lunch at a local, highly-rated organic restaurant that prepares traditional Oaxaca food with flair. After lunch, meet and talk with a private collector and textile curator. Overnight in Oaxaca. Dinner on your own. (B, L)

Day 3: Wednesday, November 6, 2013. Just outside of Oaxaca city lays the stunning and important Zapotec archeological site of Monte Alban. The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago considers Monte Alban to be the finest example of social and government organization in Mesoamerica. Sturdy walking shoes and walking sticks encouraged! We will have a private, guided visit with one of Oaxaca’s most knowledgeable guides. Snack in the Monte Alban sky café. Return to Oaxaca for lunch on your own. Depart for an overnight in the rug weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle. Group dinner. (B, D)

Day 4: Thursday, November 7, 2013. After breakfast, we will visit the tapestry weaving workshop of Federico Chavez Sosa, master weaver. Federico will demonstrate the two-harness loom introduced by the Spanish in 1521. Then, we will roll up our sleeves to participate in an Indigo Dye Workshop. We will enjoy a delicious group lunch prepared by one of the finest village cooks in the village. Afternoon on your own to meander and explore this historic site that blends Zapotec and Spanish culture. Group Dinner. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle. (B,L,D)

Day 5: Friday, November 8, 2013. After breakfast, we will meet Reyna, one of Oaxaca’s famed cooking teachers for a cooking class in her outdoor kitchen located just around the corner from our B&B. She will take us on a walking tour of the village market where we will shop for fresh ingredients, then work together with her guidance to prepare a delicious traditional repast that includes, of course, one of Oaxaca’s famous mole dishes and a mezcal tasting. After lunch, we will depart for Oaxaca where we will spend the night. Dinner on your own. (B, L)

 YogaFoodWriting-5 ReynaCooking-32

Day 6: Saturday, November 9, 2013. Today we will join noted international fiber textile artist Maddalena in her Oaxaca studio to make a scarf of your own design using the nuno felting technique of wool on silk. In keeping with our commitment to sustainable development, we only use natural dyes which are made from local sources. Maddalena has been working with indigenous women in Oaxaca and Chiapas states to preserve natural dye traditions for many years. Lunch in Oaxaca. Return to Oaxaca for a gala grand finale group dinner. Overnight in Oaxaca. (B, L, D)

Day 7: Depart, Sunday, November 10, 2013. We will provide private van or taxi transportation from our Oaxaca hotel to the airport based upon your departure schedule.

$3,185 per person double occupancy. $3,485 for a single supplement. Includes $500 per person tax-deductible gift to Penland School of Crafts.

Register Today. Have Questions? Ask Norma Hawthorne at normahawthorne@mac.com or call 919-274-6194

Ready to Register?

Click Here for Registration Form.

About Norma Hawthorne. Norma started Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC in 2006 and began offering weaving and natural dyeing workshops in the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, where she now lives part of the year. Soon after, she expanded workshop offerings to include women’s creating writing, yoga, photography, and other forms of textile and fiber arts programs. In 2011, she retired from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she raised $23 million for the School of Nursing, and directed the School’s marketing and communications. Before that, she had a 25-year career in higher education continuing education and marketing at Indiana University, The University of Virginia, and The George Washington University. Norma holds the B.A. in history from California State University at Northridge and the M.S. from The University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. A lover of indigenous textiles, Norma started weaving with naturally dyed wool in San Francisco, collected Amish Folk Art textiles which she recently donated to the Indiana State Museum, owned and operated a gourmet cookware shop and cooking school, and fell in love with Oaxaca arts and artisans when she first visited there in 2005. See Norma’s resume.

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About Eric Chavez Santiago. Eric has worked to preserve Oaxaca’s textile traditions for most of his adult life.  A graduate of Oaxaca’s Anahuac University, Eric speaks fluent English, is a talented weaver and dyer in his own right, is an experienced instructor.  Eric has traveled throughout the State of Oaxaca to create documentary videos that include interviews with seasoned weavers and the new generation of young weavers committed to carrying the traditions forward. He is currently working on a documentary to record and preserve the Mexican tradition of Spanish needle lace. Eric has traveled to the United States regularly since 2006 to present Oaxaca’s textile traditions to museums, galleries, and universities, including UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, University of Notre Dame Snite Museum of Art, University of California at Santa Cruz, National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, San Jose, California Quilt and Textile Museum, American Tapestry Alliance, and The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. He is one of the most knowledgeable textile resources in Mexico.

ReynaAmarilloMetate2 ReynaSaladIngred Lodging/Accommodations. We have selected highly rated, elegant, upscale accommodations for you in Oaxaca city where we will spend four nights at Casa Las Bugambilias B&B.  We will also spend two nights at family owned and operated Casa Elena B&B or Las Granadas B&B in Teotitlan del Valle to give you a flavor of village life. 

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Cost: The basic cost for the trip is $3,185. USD. This includes six nights lodging shared occupancy with private bath, six breakfasts, four lunches, three dinners, transportation to/from airport and activities as noted in the itinerary, site entry fees, all instruction, and a $500 tax-deductible contribution to Penland School of Crafts.

The cost does NOT include airfare and related taxes, tips/gratuities, travel insurance, liquor/alcoholic beverages, and several meals as specified in the itinerary. If you want travel insurance, please let us know and we will quote you a cost.

Base Cost: Shared double room with private bath; $3,185. 

Option 2: Single Supplement, private room with private bath; $3,485.

Please make your deposit check payable to Norma Hawthorne, OCN-LLC and mail to Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC, 110 Blue Heron Farm Road, Pittsboro, NC 27312 or tell us you want to pay by Credit Card and we will send you a PayPal invoice via email.  PayPal transactions are online, safe and secure.

See the Registration Form for complete details.

Dolores with Shadows Doug_03.2 DSC_0081.JPG Reservations and Cancellations. Please understand that we make lodging and transportation arrangements months in advance of the program. Our hosts often require deposits or payments in full to guarantee reservations. If cancellation is necessary, please notify us in writing by email. After September 1, no refunds are possible; however, we will make every possible effort to fill your reserved space or you may send a substitute. If you cancel on or before September 1, we will refund 50% of your deposit. We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation, baggage, emergency evacuation and medical insurance before you begin your trip, since unforeseen circumstances are possible.

Ready to Register? Tell Norma at normahawthorne@mac.com Have Questions? Ask Norma at normahawthorne@mac.com  or call Norma at 919-274-6194.

This program is produced by Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC in cooperation with Penland School of Crafts. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary and make substitutions as necessary.

A Word About How to Get There Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC, based in Pittsboro, North Carolina, U.S.A., has offered arts workshops and cultural immersion experiences in Oaxaca, Mexico, since 2006. Many participants often travel independently to reach Oaxaca on a direct flight from the gateway city of Houston, Texas, on United Airlines. Other major U.S. airlines connect to AeroMexico in Mexico City, which offers several flights a day to Oaxaca. Delta operates a Code Share with AeroMexico. The international airport at Oaxaca is new, safe and clean, as is the Mexico City airport. Our trusted Oaxaca airport pick-up service will personally greet you as you depart from baggage claim. Note: Tips may be given to your local guides, instructors, and service providers throughout the trip. The recommended tip is 50 pesos per day for each provider per person. Be sure to collect your belongings from your room and check the Safety Deposit Box. Have your Passport, Mexico Exit Visa, and Plane Tickets ready! Please Note: This is a working itinerary, is subject to change and may be modified as we confirm final details for the trip. Be assured that any changes made will only enhance the program and add to your total experience. Thank you for your understanding!

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