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Norma writes for Selvedge Magazine Issue #109 -- Rise Up, November 2022
Norma Writes for Selvedge Latin Issue #89
What is a Study Tour: Our programs are designed as learning experiences, and as such we talk with weavers about how and why they create, what is meaningful to them in their designs, the ancient history of patterning and design, use of color, tradition and innovation, values and cultural continuity, and the social context within which they work. First and foremost, we are educators. Norma worked in top US universities for over 35 years and Eric founded the education department at Oaxaca’s textile museum. Our interest is in creating connection and artisan economic development.
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
Norma Contributes Two Chapters!
- 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 Toursd 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 weaving relationships, customized itineraries, study abroad programs, meetings and conferences. It's our pleasure to make arrangements.
Select Clients *Selvedge Magazine-London, UK *Esprit Travel and Tours *Penland School of Crafts *North Carolina State University *WARP Weave a Real Peace *Methodist University *MINNA-Goods *Smockingbird Kids
Tell us how we can put a program together for you! Send an email firstname.lastname@example.org
- WEAVE Podcast: Oaxaca Coast Textiles & Tour
- NY Times, Weavers Embrace Natural Dye Alternatives
- NY Times, Open Thread–Style News
- NY Times, 36-Hours: Oaxaca, Mexico
- Cooking Classes–El Sabor Zapoteco
- Currency Converter
- Fe y Lola Rugs by Chavez Santiago Family
- Friends of Oaxaca Folk Art
- Hoofing It In Oaxaca Hikes
- Living Textiles of Mexico
- Mexican Indigenous Textiles Project
- Museo Textil de Oaxaca
- Oaxaca Lending Library
- Oaxaca Weather
- Taller Teñido a Mano Natural Dyes
More About Braids and Ribbons: Cultural Awakening
I asked Janet (Yah-nette) Chavez Santiago if she knew the significance of the color of ribbons the abuelas use in their braids. I didn’t hear from her for a few days and when she reported back, I thought, wow, I was really trying to read something more into this than what was really there! How culturally naive of me, and then I thought, how many of us do this when we travel and even when we think we know a place very well, wanting to find meaning in really small, insignificant practices?
The answer Janet gave me was simple. She asked her grandmother, Soledad, who is in her late 70’s and wears traditional Zapotec dress as her daily habit. Soledad replied that ladies wind their hair in braids using colorful ribbons to keep unruly hair tidy while they are cooking and cleaning, but especially cooking. Ribbons as a useful tool for hygiene was the underlying meaning communicated. I asked Janet to ask again about the color of the ribbons, which I notice can be blue, green, red, yellow, and many women from distinct villages choose to use the same color of ribbon. The answer that came back was that it was personal preference having no grander significance than that. Peer influence is powerful the world over as to wanting to wear similar costumes. Why am I not surprised?