Thank You! Goal Reached to Send Juvenal Home

Gifts that came in since I wrote last have taken us over the top and we reached our $3,000 goal plus more! In total, we have raised $4,055.25 so far. YOU are incredibly caring and generous. Juvenal’s family thanks you from the bottom of their hearts.

The family tells me that Juvenal’s body will be sent to Mexico City where he will be greeted by family members who will escort the casket home to Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, in a traditional funeral procession. Most of California’s governmental offices are closed, so it is a slower process than normal to get the paperwork approved for his exit and transport.

The first group of donors is listed HERE. Another BIG thanks to you!

And more thanks to those below who made gifts in the last few days:

Pam Patrie
Joseph Lockhart
Nena Creasy
Natalie Klein
Martin Ted Nelson
Robin Greene
Whitney Beals
Susanne Corrigan
Kathie McCleskey
Lisa Michie
Tom Tillemans
Cathy Platin
Felicity More
Emily Rubin
Tracy Hobbs
Hettie Johnson
Linda Mansour
Susie Robison*
Katharyn Rayner*
Vaughan Greene
Mary Anne Shaw
Kathryn Leide
Jennifer Brinitzer
Elizabeth Pomeroy
Christine Marshall
Carolyn Urbanski
Sheri Brautigam
Julia Erickson
Larry Ginzkey
Thanks to recent donors, February 16-18, 2021

Read about Juvenal Gutierrez Alavez from Teotitlan del Valle and why we are raising funds to send his body home from Los Angeles for a proper funeral in Teotitlan del Valle. Juvenal, a healthy man in his mid-50’s, died from Covid-19 alone in a San Diego hospital.

What Friends Say …

“Our hearts are grieving for all those who loved this beautiful and generous man. Thanks for coordinating this, Norma. Abrazos fuertes!”

“My heart goes out to the family. These are cruel enough times but being in a foreign country and isolated, he didn’t even have the comfort of his family with him. “

“It felt so good to help, especially in these challenging times … incredibly glad to help.  And thanks for organizing this effort on behalf of Juvenal and his family!”

“I want to help bring Juvenal home.”

“Much love and respect to all his family.”

“Rest in Peace in your home, Teotitlan del Valle, Juvenal.”

“I am so very sorry to hear about Juvenal. Tragic! Too many good people lost to this pandemic.”

“So perfect! Thank you, thank you!”

“Bless you for helping this beautiful family cope with their tragic loss. Please keep us posted about Juvenal’s homecoming.”

“Sad times. My deepest sympathy to the friends and family of Juvenal.”

Sending Juvenal Gutierrez Home to Teotitlan: Thank You

A Message of Thanks from Lizet, Juvenal’s daughter

Hello, everyone. I’m Lizet Gutierrez, the daughter of Juvenal Gutierrez Alavez. I want to thank each of you who are helping us to raise funds to move my father’s body to Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. You don’t know how much my family and I appreciate all that you have contributed. You have a big and good heart to help us. We wish the best for each of you and your families. May God bless each one of you for the support you have given to us!

Our Goal: $3,000 — We need $400 more!

Read about how to help Juvenal return home HERE.

Lizet, age 17, her mom Norma, and her 15-year-old brother Lionel are in Southern California, waiting for legal approvals to send Juvenal’s body home for a traditional Zapotec burial. It’s what he would have wanted.

We are grateful to you for your responsiveness and generosity. Forty-nine people contributed a total of $2,600 dollars to help send Juvenal home. We received a range of gifts from $15 to $500 each.

If you haven’t yet made a gift to help — any amount is welcome — please use one of these links:

Please DO NOT select Buying Goods or Services at check-out!

If you don’t use PayPal, we can receive your gift via personal check, VENMO or Zelle. I can also send a Square invoice. Let me know and I will send instructions. I am able to transfer your gifts directly to the family.

THANK YOU to all contributors to date.

Gretchen Ellinger
Trudi Woods
Samuel Burns
Lynn Nichols
Stephanie Smagala
Kaola Phoenix
Susie Robison
Gail Barraco
Barbara Garcia
Carol Estes
Diane Manning
Lesa Porche
Kathleen Burch
David Taylor
Joan Glynn
John Hays
Anne Burns
Beth Katz
Catherine Cox
Anne Romanow
Martha Sorensen
Hugh Eckert
Jo Ann Ward
Kristine Moore
Eve Hiatt
Donna Tuke
Material Media
Barbara Beerstein
Norma Schafer
Deborah Mersky
Nancy Craft
Katharyn Rayner
Joyce Federer
Denis Wood
Marsha Heiman
Marla Jensen
Susan Barkoff
Dean and Kay Michaels
Beverly Keitz
Dorothy Hermann
Jill Bennett
Olive and Lew Greenwald
Kajal Patel
Claudia Michel
Suzanne Ouellette
Joan Quigley
Scott Roth

Help Bring Juvenal Home to Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca

My friend Juvenal Gutierrez Alavez died from Covid-19 last week alone in a San Diego hospital. He was in his mid-50’s. A young man by my count. Oh, to be in my mid-50’s, full of life with years ahead of me. But, for Juvenal, this was not to be. His wife Norma and teenage children were with him in California while he was working, but they were not allowed in the hospital — a tragedy we hear so often, when there is no familial comfort in those last days and hours.

Help with a gift to bring Juvenal’s body home!

I am writing to ask you to help because it is expensive to return a body home. The family estimates that they need about $3,000 USD for transportation. This does not include funeral expenses. This is the amount we want to raise to help them. Can you help?

Choose Your Gift Level

Please DO NOT select Buying Goods or Services at check-out!

If you don’t use PayPal, we can receive your gift via personal check, VENMO or Zelle. I can also send a Square invoice. Let me know and I will send instructions. I am able to transfer your gifts directly to the family.

There is no question that Juvenal’s body will be returned for burial next to his ancestors in Teotitlan del Valle. He was a traditional Zapotec. My friend Annie Burns, who lives there and knew Juvenal like a brother, says that is what he would have wanted. It’s the family’s wish, too. In an 8,000 year old culture, traditional burial is a sacred part of life.

Juvenal Gutierrez Alavez and family

I met Juvenal when I first visited Teotitlan del Valle in 2005. He had lived and worked in Los Angeles for some years by then, going back and forth, sending money home to his young wife as he was starting a family. He loved his work: driving long-haul tractor trailers all over the USA. That’s what took him back to L.A. this time — an offer of work to drive a load of liquid sugar from the border to the city every day. The company wanted him because Juvenal was a reliable and safe driver.

Hear Juvenal sing, April 25, 2019

Like many Teotitecos, Juvenal and his family received US citizenship during the Ronald Reagan amnesty of 1986. He settled in LA with his kinfolk who had migrated there years before. Like many Teotitecos, he traveled back and forth to the USA seamlessly. Everyone from Teotitlan del Valle has family in either Santa Ana or Moorpark. His English skills were excellent. He was a quick study. So he taught English classes on the patio several times a week to adults and children alike who wanted language skills to interact with tourists who were coming to buy hand-woven rugs.

On that first 2005 visit, Juvenal invited me and the wasband to visit his class and speak to them in English. It would be good practice for them, he cajoled us. His smile was invitation enough. A big, wide, generous grin that evoked a life filled with satisfaction and joy. We spoke slowly using simple language and where needed, Juvenal translated. We became friends.

Lizet holding the wedding photo of her parents, Juvenal and Norma

In the years that followed, Juvenal’s wife Norma, opened an apron stall in the village market and I would take visitors there to get theirs so they could look like the locals before taking a cooking class from El Sabor Zapoteco–Reyna Mendoza. Norma, a proficient baker, became my go-to person for baking birthday and quinceñera cakes. I was especially fond of her carrot cake with fresh grated carrots. Bite into it and still taste the crunch! The last time I saw Juvenal was on February 12, 2020, when he delivered two cakes for a small birthday party.

Juvenal with daughter Lizet

Norma earned her own pocket money by selling aprons and baking cakes. Juvenal was the primary income earner and would travel periodically back to Los Angeles to work, adding dollars to whatever pesos they had on hand from weaving and selling rugs. Then, Covid came and tourist income for the entire village dried up. This time, Juvenal left with his wife and children so he would not be separated from them for very long. Los Angeles became a hotbed for the virus this winter.

Lizet, Parade of the Canastas, Teotitlan del Valle

Juvenal leaves his wife Norma, 21-year old daughter Nancy who is pregnant with her first child, Lizet, age 17 and Lionel, age 15, and grieving family members in Los Angeles and Teotitlan del Valle.

This is Lionel, Juvenal’s son, singing La Cucharacha — kindergarten!

Thanks to Lizet Gutierrez and Anne Burns for sending me photos and music! and to Scott Roth for his memories.

Choose Your Gift Level

Please DO NOT select Buying Goods or Services at check-out!

Thank you very much for considering how you can help! -Norma

A Vignette from Anne Burns:

If I was walking down the street and saw a wad of bills on the ground, what would I do? What Juvenal did was go on the locals radio broadcast and tell the village that if anyone could name the exact amount, they could reclaim their money. And that’s what happened. A family came forth naming the exact amount. They had been saving that money for a long time and had been devastated when they discovered the loss.

This past week, as I have tried to come to terms with my loss of Juvenal, it has not escaped my notice that a praying mantis appeared in my kitchen patio and stayed a long while as I sat on the brick floor, or that an owl flew out hooting at me while I was walking one evening on the side of Picacho, the mountain sacred to this village.

Mexico Home Decor Collectibles Sale

Today, we are featuring three Ex-Votos, whimsical folk art paintings on metal. The vintage ones were painted on tin or whatever found materials the naive, untrained artist could find. They were offered at shrines and spiritual places for life-saving thanksgiving. I have one vintage piece for sale below. The other two are reproductions painted by Mexico City artist Rodriguez. Plus, hearts and mirrors, and more. 19 pieces total.

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please DO NOT SELECT buying goods or services at check-out. We also accept Venmo and Zelle. I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal. All sales final.

19-3/4″ wide x 9-1/2″ tall. Reproduction ex-voto by Mexico City artist Rafael Rodriguez. $165

“Pascual Ortiz al estar trepado en la locomotora me calli de tatema y casi me la rompo y dedico esta laminita. Chihuahua a 4 de octubre 1937.”

Vintage rare ex-voto, 10″ w x 8-1/2″ tall. Was $595. Now $295

It says: Gracias a la virgencita y el niño por senar a mi hijo enfermo de Tifoidea a anto de morir. El sans infinitamente agracidas. (signed) Lupe Ma. Miraflores Lopez, Chapala, Jalisco. (Thanks to the little virgin and her son for saving my son from typhoid before he died. He is infinitely thankful.) Measures 10-1/4″ x 8-1/2″

SOLD. Set of 3 Zapatista wall plaques, Chiapas. 4-1/4″ high x 6″ wide. $25
Venustiano Perez dedicates this ex-voto, 9-1/2″ wide x 7-1/2″ tall. Oaxaca 1938. $145

“Venustiano Perez dedica esta laminata por salvarme de una alimaña bien grandota. Oaxaca a 23 de Abril de 1938.” Reproduction by Mexico City artist Rafael Rodriguez.

SOLD. Happy Valentine’s Day: Oaxaca wood + gold leaf heart. 6-1/2″ w x 8-1/2″ tall. $45
SOLD. Happy Valentine’s Day. Oaxaca tin heart mirror. 4×5″ $10
SOLD. Rare Zegache carved wood + silver leaf mirror, 6×6″ round $75

Zegache is the workshop founded by Rodolfo Morales in Santa Ana Zegache near his home in Ocotlan. It was a training ground for woodworkers to create pieces in the style of the European colonial church decor with hand-carved pieces embellished with paint and either gold or silver leaf. The technique was used in the restoration of several churches funded by the Morale Foundation. These pieces are no longer being made. They are wonderful, reflective wall decor for any room.

SOLD. Zegache rare hand-carved wood with gold and silver leaf, 6″ round. $75

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please DO NOT SELECT buying goods or services at check-out. We also accept Venmo and Zelle. I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal. All sales final.

SOLD. Chiapas, hand-wrought iron mirror, 7×9″ $55
Huichol yarn art on wood, 6″ square. $75

Beautifully rendered, this yarn “painting” by the Mexican Huichol tribe from Nayarit depicts reverence for corn, the harvest and the spiritual, healing properties of peyote.

Chiapas, Los Leñateros paper mask. 10×9″ $40

Los Leñateros is the hand-made paper studio in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, where artisans make art books, boxes, and picture frames from recycled paper. They use a stationery bicycle to power the paper shredding and then put the paper mixed with flowers and seeds into bins to process. Sometimes, they create these colorful hanging masks that twirl in the breeze.

SOLD. Oaxaca painted gourd bowl. 2-3/4″ tall x 5″ diameter. $45

This piece reminds me of aboriginal painting from Australia or the pointillist style of the French Impressionists. It is from the studio of Arrazola artist Bertha Cruz Morales. Great for serving dried nuts.

SOLD. Is it an anteater? Chiapas miniature stuffed animal. $25

Gosh! Isn’t s/he cute? Hand-woven wool and embroidery is used to fashion this precious stuffed animal made in San Juan Chamula, Chiapas.

SOLD. Reindeer with red eyes. 3″ long x7″tall. $25

Oh, this one is made from handwoven natural sheep wool. Antlers are wrapped in shimmering gray yarn. Red embroidery outlines the black eyes and of course, there is a black nose just waiting to nuzzle you. Beautifully crafted.

What About These RUGS? When you purchase, you are supporting the weaver. Help me send funds back to Oaxaca with your purchase.

Indigo ikat + zapote negro, 22×33″. $295 $275
Cochineal, indigo, marigold, pomegranate, 23×23″ $195 $175
Indigo, cochineal, pomegranate dyed wool, 23×23″ $195 $175

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please DO NOT SELECT buying goods or services — so we don’t pay commissions. We also accept Venmo and Zelle. I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal. All sales final.

Mexico Textile Treasures for Sale

I’m down to two boxes and half-a-closet of textiles and I want to sell them all before I move from North Carolina to New Mexico. These are new, never worn or used, bought from artisans whose work I admire, respect and wanted to support. Often, along the way and through the years, I bought just to support them and know that someone out there — like you — would appreciate the workmanship as much as I do. I usually don’t bargain hunt nor do I haggle on the price. I look for quality of cloth, weaving, embroidery and color. Quality is so spectacular and prices so fair based on time to create, that I considered it an honor to purchase these pieces.

Lots to choose from: 43 pieces.

SOLD. #0 Amusgos pillow cover. 18-1/2″ square. $55
#1. By Designer Alberto Gomez Lopez, Magdalena Aldama, 22″x25″ $585 $450

Alberto Gomez Lopez is a talented young designer from the Chiapas village of Magdalena Aldama in the Chiapas highlands about 2 hours beyond San Cristobal de las Casas. In January 2020 he was invited to New York Fashion Week, showcasing the back strap loom weaving of his family cooperative.

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please DO NOT SELECT buying goods or services — so we don’t pay commissions. We also accept Venmo and Zelle. I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal. All sales final.

Some of these pieces I ordered especially for resale to help artisans I know who are struggling to earn enough to feed their families. Your purchases will send money back to Mexico for them.

SOLD. #2. Tenancingo ikat shawl by Luis Rodriguez, 28″ wide x 92″ long, $245 $195

Luis Rodriguez is one of the foremost ikat weavers of Tenancingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico. Click on THIS LINK to see a video of his work. This is a full length, wide shawl, ample enough to wrap around your shoulders twice with comfort. The punta — fringes — are especially long and intricate. This piece came from his workshop-studio.

SOLD. #3. Ikat scarf by Luis Rodriguez, 31″ wide x 58″ long. $95 $70
SOLD. #4. Vintage ikat textile from Guatemala 23″ w x 40″ long. $75 $45
#5. French knots blouse, Size SMALL by Francisca, Chiapas. $120 $75

Francisca lives and works in a one-room concrete block house in Aguacatenango, Chiapas, with her husband and daughter. We discovered her about four years ago when we visited the village. Her workmanship is the best embroidery I have ever seen — dense, perfect French knots.

#6. Las Sanjuaneras, wild marigold. 35×40″ $425. $385

The Las Sanjuaneras cooperative is one of the most creative and innovative in the State of Oaxaca. They live and work in a small village, San Juan Colorado, in the highlands off the Coast of Oaxaca. They work only in cotton with natural dyes that they make themselves. It can take six to eight months to weave an exceptional collector’s huipil like the one above. Someone! Please purchase these pieces so I can send funds to the weavers!

SOLD. #7. Las Sanjuaneras, iron oxide + indigo, size L. 30×34″ $245 $195
#8. Las Sanjuaneras, 31×21-1/2″ Brazilwood, nanche. $295 $245
#9. Las Sanjuaneras, Iron oxide, mahogany. 36×37″ $425 $385
#10. Collector’s–Xochistlahuaca Cooperative. 31×50. Gala Huipil. $675 $585

Yezi in Xochistlahuaca, Guerrero, an Amusgo village, sent pieces to me to sell for her cooperative. They are remote and have little opportunity to market their pieces. This is a special GALA huipil woven and worn for special occasions. Please support what they do!

#11. Amusgo, size L, 29×50″ $245 $195
#12. San Mateo del Mar Palafox family, fine cotton with indigo. 25Wx48L $595 $525

The Palafox family are the premier weavers in the coastal village of San Mateo del Mar. They were devastated by the recent earthquake. This is a VERY FINE back-strap loom woven huipil dyed with indigo. Figures include crabs, palm trees, deer, fish — life at the beach!

#13. San Mateo del Mar Poncho, 100% cotton, 37″W x 31″ Size L-XL. $425 $375

Warm enough for winter, this poncho is double-woven and glorious.

#14. French knots by Francisca, Aguacatenango, Chiapas. Size M. $120 $95
SOLD. #16. Super-Fancy Apron. San Miguel del Valle, Oaxaca. L-XL. $145 $115
SOLD. #17. Collector’s huipil, San Felipe Usila, Oaxaca. L-XL. $595 $495

This piece is woven by Jorge Isidro’s mother. Where is San Felipe Usila? Between Veracruz and Oaxaca, high in the mountains, a 12-hour bus ride from Oaxaca City. Pieces like this are selling for upwards of $700 in the city.

SOLD. #18. Everyday apron, Tlacolula, L-XL. $65 $45
SOLD. #19. Fancy Apron. San Miguel del Valle, Oaxaca. L-XL. $125 $95

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please DO NOT SELECT buying goods or services — so we don’t pay commissions. We also accept Venmo and Zelle. I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal. All sales final.

#20. Rare Xochistlahuaca, Native Green, Coyuchi + White Cotton Huipil, 30×46, $750 $650

I’ve marked this piece down to sell. It is gorgeous, soft and luxurious native Oaxaca cotton.

SOLD. #21. Size Large, French Knots blouse by Francisca, $120 $95
#22. Las Sanjuaneras, 30×21″ $320 $260
#23. Chiapas. 23″ wide x 24″ high. $55

Finest, softest cotton with intricate embroidery from Jolom Mayetik Cooperative.

SOLD. #24. San Andres Larrainzar, back-strap loom. Cotton. 26″ wide x 27″ high. $65
SOLD. #25. Chiapas. Aldama Magdalenas. 26″ wide x 28″ high. $45

Aldama Magdalenas is a Maya village almost three hours from San Cristobal de las Casas. We visit the cooperative formed by Rosa and Cristobal during our Chiapas Textile Tour. This is a traditional village that depends on weaving and subsistence farming.

SOLD. #26. Chiapas. 23″ wide x 24″ high. $55
SOLD. #27. Amusgo, Oaxaca. Ruana. 30″ wide x 20″ high. $45.

The ruana is a garment that is like a poncho, but open in the front. You can wear this as shown, or wrap the front flaps around your shoulders. Open on both sides.

SOLD. #28. Beautiful cochineal bag from Bii Dauu Cooperative. $55

Measures 10″ high x 13″ wide. Bii Dauu has been working in natural dyes for over 25 years in Teotitlan del Valle. The work is exceptional. This bag has a zipper and is lined with an inside zip pocket.

SOLD. #29. Chiapas. San Juan Chamula 9 x 11. $25

A great shoulder bag for toting accessories, make-up or travel documents. Amazing embroidery on natural combed sheep wool.

SOLD. #30. Tito Mendoza loomed shoulder bag. 7″x8″ $85

Erasto “Tito” Mendoza wove this bag for me many years ago. The Mendoza family of Teotitlan del Valle is known for their outstanding craftsmanship. It’s been in my collection for years. I still have a couple others! You may recognize the weaving style. Tito is the first cousin of famed Arnulfo Mendoza who passed a few years ago.

#31. Chiapas. Guitar strap or belt. 2-1/2″ x 32″ $25
#32. Folk art blouse. Jamiltepec, Oaxaca. 25″wide x 22″ high. $45

This is a traditional style from the Oaxaca coast created on the back strap loom and then embellished with embroidery. Fun, funky wearable art.

SOLD. #33. San Antonino Deshillado + Embroidered Blouse. 24″ w x 25″ long. $45

This is the village that makes the Oaxaca wedding dress! The blouse features finest embroidery of birds, pansies, and flowers. Deshillado is the pulled thread openwork treatment — a complex, intricate process.

SOLD. #34. Chiapas. 25″w x 27″ long. $65

This textile is from the famous cooperative Sna Jolobil founded by Chip Morris and Pedro Meza. It’s priced at far less than what I paid for it.

#15 Isthmus of Tehuantepec. 24″ wide x 21-1/2″ high. $55
SOLD. #35. Large, handwoven market bag, colored with smoke. Chiapas. $95

These market bags are made from natural plant fiber. The leather straps are adjustable. A perfect expandable bag to go anywhere and hold anything. They are hand-woven by one of the few remaining old men who do this type of work. It takes about 3 months to weave.

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please DO NOT SELECT buying goods or services — so we don’t pay commissions. We also accept Venmo and Zelle. I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal. All sales final.

SOLD. #36. Medium market bag. Chiapas. $75
SOLD. 37. Small market bag, $65.
SOLD. #38. Yalalag village blouse. Little embroidered people! 22″wide x 26″ tall. $25
SOLD. #39. Chiapas, Jacquard woven shawl or table runner. 12×70″ $65
#40. Indigo ikat + zapote negro, 22×33″. $295 $275
SOLD. #41 Indigo, cochineal, undyed wool, 23×36″ $285 $255
#42. Cochineal, indigo, marigold, pomegranate, 23×23″ $195 $175
#43. Indigo, undyed wool, cochineal, pomegranate, 23×23″ $195 $175