Monthly Archives: June 2010

Calendar, July 2010: Museo Textil de Oaxaca

Here is the Museo Textil de Oaxaca Calendar of Events for July 2010.  Don’t miss this special museum if you are visiting Oaxaca.

Dear Museum Friends,

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Current Exhibitions

The eagle flew and the cactus was trembling: Mexican Textile Bicentennial

Opening Saturday July 17th, 18:00 hrs
Oaxaca Textile Museum preserves its collection of several pieces of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that allow us to trace the evolution of the icons of nationalism and its conversion into popular symbols.
Chamber Grana, coyuchi and Caracol, MTO, Free admission

Baby carriers and baby blankets of Southern China – ongoing
The  Miao, Dong and Zhuang people live in the provinces of Guizhou and Guangxi in southern China, an area of great ecological and cultural complexity comparable to southern Mexico. The weavers and embroiderers of this mountain region devote their best efforts to beautify the textiles that clothe babies. This exhibition features the extraordinary quality of supplementary weft fabrics and silk embroideries in various techniques, all aimed at newborns.
MTO Library, Free admission


Workshop: “Creative Sewing
Taught by: Susanne Brass – Guest Artist
Description: Use decorative fabrics, upholstery, curtains or worn clothing to repurpose and make a new dress.  Discover your creativity using alternative materials and designs.
Date: Monday, July 5 to Friday, July 9
Hours: 10:00 to 13:00 hrs,  Fee: $ 350 pesos
Capacity: 10 participants, aimed at the general public
Pasajuego wires, MTO

Workshop:  Color and Earth
Taught by: Claudia Alvarez Freer – Color Specialist
Description: The objective is to appreciate the color based on how it works in nature.  Learn about the thousands of options we have to achieve different compositions with the same materials and techniques we use today.
Date: From Tuesday, July 13 to Friday, July 16
Hours: 10:00 to 13:00 hrs,  Fee: $ 350 pesos
Capacity: 10 participants, aimed at artisans, design or art students, general public
Pasajuego wires, MTO

Workshop:  Book Binding for Children
Taught by: Rosa Maria Jimenez de la Cuesta
Description: Participants will develop a book with handmade paper from binding to its content.
Date: Monday, July 19 to Friday, July 23
Hours: 10:00 to 14:30 hrs – break 1 / 2 hour,  Fee: $ 150 pesos
Capacity: 20 participants, aimed at children between 8 and 14 years
Pasajuego wires, MTO

Workshop:  Making Children’s Dolls
Taught by: Rebecca Severide – Textile Artist guest
Description: Development of dolls with wire structures, yarns and fabrics.
Date: Monday, July 26 to Friday, July 30
Hours: 16:00 to 18:30 hrs, Fee: $ 200 pesos (includes some materials)
Quota: 8 participants, aimed at children between 8 and 14 years
Pasajuego wires, MTO

Workshop: Indigo Stains Your Shirt (bring a white T-shirt, 100% cotton)
Taught by: Eric Chavez – Educational Services of MTO
Description: Each participant will learn to use indigo dye to color a T-shirt employing tie-dye techniques.
Date: Saturday July 17 and Saturday July 31
Hours: 11:00 to 14:00 hrs, Fee: $ 50 pesos $ 20 pesos adults and children under 12 years (limited to one shirt per participant)
Capacity: 15 participants, aimed at children and the general public
Pasajuego wires, MTO

Presentation: Process of preparation of textiles
Taught by: Eric Chavez – Educational services MTO
Description: A visual presentation of the types of fibers, weaving looms, weaving and dyeing techniques used in Oaxaca.
Date: Thursday, July 8 (Spanish)
Friday July 9 (English)
Hours: 16:00 to 17:00 hrs
Aimed at the general public, Free admission, Pasajuego wires, MTO

Expo-Sale: Designers Textiles – Innovating Tradition
Date: From Wednesday 14 to Sunday July 18
Hours: 10:00 to 19:00 hrs, Free admission, Patio MTO

TC3 Cube Contemporary Textile Program
Work of artist Emilia Sandoval until July 11
Opening and chat with the artist Alberto Ruiz (Teotitlan del Valle)
Date: Thursday July 15
Hours: 19:00 hrs, Free admission, Patio MTO

Visit the restoration workshop of the MTO
Given by the Coordinator of the Preservation and Restoration of MTO:
Mr. Hector Manuel Lozano Meneses
Date: Thursday July 29
Hours: 18:00 to 19:00 hrs
Aimed at the general public, Free admission, Restoration Workshop, MTO

Guided tours of the exhibitions
Date: Every Wednesday in July
Hours: 17:00 to 18:00 hrs,  Fee: $ 10 pesos per person (in English and Spanish)

Pre-registration is necessary as space is limited for each workshop.

For more information and registration:
Tel 501 1104 – ext. 104 or go directly to the Textile Museum, 917 Hidalgo esq. Fiallo, Centro, Oaxaca
From Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 14:00 hrs and 15:00 to 18:00 hrs

Oaxaca 6.5 Earthquake Rattles on June 30, 2010

This quake happened about 75 miles south of Oaxaca city along the Pacific coast in a largely unpopulated mountainous region of the state near the village of Pinotepa Nacional (where glorious natural cotton is woven, by the way).  To read more, I’ve attached a link to all the news about Oaxaca — and today, it’s about this earthquake from various news sources.

From Oaxaca city, my friend Sheri Brautigam says:  I think it was rather a small earthquake – I felt it for a few seconds or more. If it had been stronger I would have definitely jumped up and moved….but it wasn’t.  Haven’t heard anything more – and other sources say it was 5.7 – so I’ll let you know if there is any info.

Spanish Language Schools in Oaxaca

Oaxaca is full of language schools.  Walk around the Zocalo and  Santo Domingo church area and you will see small groups of gringos sitting on a bench or on the church wall or a sidewalk cafe sipping a limonada or naranjada with lessons in hand, practicing in dyads with classmates who become friends.

From time to time, I am asked for recommendations.  Which language school should I attend? someone says.  Which one is the best? asks another.  I have never attended a language school in Oaxaca, so I cannot give you a personal recommendation.  I can refer you to these resources, suggested by my friend and comadre Roberta Christie.

Roberta says that this school is very good and has many loyal students.

Lauren Waits, who lived in Oaxaca for a year with her family, participated in our documentary filmmaking workshop, and took Spanish lessons from Rogelio Ballesteros Castro at Instituto Amigos del Sol,  highly recommends the experience/quality.

Avenida Pino Suarez #802, Oaxaca, Mexico, 68000 Tel: 1 33 60 52 (local)

Other schools are listed on the Planeta Dot Com Website:

My husband Stephen, a former Peace Corps ESL teacher, says that the best way to learn is through immersion, speaking and repetition.  Grammar and the study of tenses will come much later after you listen, speak, and repeat phrases.

If you have attended a Spanish language school in Oaxaca, please add your recommendations here.

Thanks again for your recommendations!  I had my last day at the Spanish Magic school today and everything was just great!  I stayed at the school, at the home of the director, Flor.  All has been very divertido!  I have been to several Guelaguetza events, and feel so fortunate that I could travel to Oaxaca at this time.  What a fiesta!  Plus, there has been the fiesta of mescal and one for one of the churches, so the joint has been jumpin!  Tomorrow I go to San Miguel for a week, and then, quien sabe?  There´s much to explore!

Many thanks, again!”  – Sue-Anne Solem

Volunteering in Oaxaca With Families and Children

A question recently came to me from a reader who wanted information about organizations doing educational work with families.  She is a kindergarten teacher and interested in school preparedness and community involvement in education.  She and her husband are planning to live in Oaxaca for four months before she starts a master’s degree program and he begins work at a U.S. law firm.  She wants to do some meaningful volunteer work in Oaxaca during their stay.  They also asked for recommendations about where to live in Oaxaca city.

I put the word out to my information source and inspiration, Roberta Christie, and together we came up with this resource list:

  • Oaxaca Lending Library, a gringo-center for information sharing and programs, is a good reference point for where to stay and who to connect with. There is a miminal membership fee.
  • Oaxaca Learning Center and Bed and Breakfast, operated by Gary Titus.  The B&B fees help support young people from rural poor areas to stay in school.
  • Libros Para Pueblos puts libraries in schools or community centers in rural areas.

If you want to have a rural village stay, then book at Las Granadas Bed & Breakfast in Teotitlan del Valle.

Oaxaca Women’s Writing Retreat: Lifting Your Creative Voice

Click on this link for March 2012 program

Indigenous Women at the Guelaguetza

You are invited to join Professor Robin Greene, MFA, for six days of writing, renewal, and self reflection. In a supportive small group atmosphere, you’ll be encouraged to find your own creative center and to surprise yourself with the power of your words. You’ll have the opportunity to work with memoir, journaling, poetry, and mixed genre writing in an intimate workshop environment.  If you are working on a project — bring it.  We’ll provide you with coaching and encouragement.  In addition, we include daily yoga sessions and one shiatsu massage.

Bending over the comal

The retreat is designed to accommodate both novice and experienced writers, and it is limited so as to offer an especially satisfying small group experience. Through writing exercises, discussion, caring feedback, and the simple gift of time, you’ll gain knowledge and perspective about the art and craft of writing. Our goal is to empower you to tell your story well, and to lift and share your voice—widening your lyrical range and adding to the tools in your narrative toolbox.

In addition to daily writing exercises in organized sessions, Robin will meet one-on-one with participants so that each writer feels nurtured and personally served.

You’ll have an opportunity to retreat and write on your own if you choose, but there’s also plenty to do here. We’ve scheduled daily yoga, stretching and meditation sessions, and shiatsu massage sessions, and there’s ample time for other activities such as walking, hiking, bird-watching, and visiting village weaving and artists’ studios.

Use this form to register.

What the Retreat Includes:

  • 15 hours of group writing instruction
  • One 45-minute coaching and feedback session
  • 5 one-hour yoga sessions
  • 2 one-hour meditation sessions
  • 1 shiatsu massage, one hour
  • 6 nights lodging
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches and snacks
  • 3 dinners

Once we are on-sight and based on group interest, we can arrange for a guided bird watching expedition, for an evening session in a traditional Temezcal women’s sweat lodge, and for additional massage sessions, all for a nominal additional cost. There are lovely walking paths around the village, along the river and into the countryside near a local reservoir. You are welcome to venture out and explore the village and its environs on your own.  Personal safety is not a concern here.

Come join us in an inspiring setting of great natural beauty for an opportunity to explore and lift your voice, enrich, and empower your world.

Family of Clay by Guillermina Aguilar

About the Workshop Leaders

Robin Greene is a Professor of English and Writing, and Director of the Writing Center at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She is also co-founder and editor of Longleaf Press, a literary press that publishes contemporary poetry. Greene is the recipient of a NC Arts Council/NEA Fellowship, a university teaching award, and a visiting professorship in Romania. Her work is widely published in literary journals. Greene has led community and conference workshops, has served as a writing consultant, and has taught creative writing for over two decades. Her books include Real Birth: Women Share their Stories (nonfiction), Memories of Light and Lateral Drift (collections of poetry), and Augustus: Narrative of a Slave Woman (a novel, forthcoming in 2010). Greene holds an M.A. in English from SUNY-Binghamton and an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.  Click here to read Robin Greene’s C.V.

Our certified yoga instructor is an experienced workshop leader who combines yogic practice and philosophy with  meditation, creativity and improvisation.

Norma Hawthorne has produced arts and educational programs in Oaxaca, Mexico, through Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC since 2006.  She has offered tapestry weaving, natural dyeing, painting, documentary filmmaking, and photography workshops that have been attended by participants from throughout the U.S., Canada and from as far as Australia.  During her twenty-five year career in higher education, Norma has organized national award-winning continuing education programs for Indiana University, University of Virginia, and George Washington University, and has raised more than $20 million for The University of North Carolina School of Nursing.  She holds the B.A. from California State University at Northridge and the M.S. from the University of Notre Dame.

Lodging/Accommodations and Cost

To keep this program affordable, we have selected clean and basic accommodations at a woman-operated bed and breakfast inn that is part of their family compound.  Josefina, along with her mother-in-law Magdalena and daughter Eloisa, prepare delicious meals from scratch.

Base Cost:  $995 per person double occupancy with shared bath facilities.  Single rooms are available and the single supplement is $200. A limited number of double occupancy rooms with private bath, and single occupancy with private bath are available. Please indicate your preference below.

[  ]  I will share a room, double occupancy with shared bath, $995 per person.

[  ] I prefer a single room with shared bath, with a $200 single supplement for a total of $1195 per person.

[  ]  I will share a room, double occupancy, with private bath, with a $200 per person supplement for a total of $1195.

[  ]  I prefer a single room with private bath, with a $300 single supplement for a total of $1295.

The cost includes six nights lodging double occupancy, six breakfasts, four lunches, three dinners, one massage, daily yoga, and all instruction.  Most travel workshops of this type and length cost more than twice as much!

The trip does NOT include airfare, taxes, gratuities, travel insurance, liquor or alcoholic beverages, some meals, and local transportation to and from Oaxaca city.

We reserve the right to substitute instructors and alter the program as needed.

Use this form to register.

Reservations and Cancellations

A 50% deposit ($500) is required to guarantee your spot.  The final payment for the balance due (including any supplemental costs) shall be postmarked by January 15, 2011.  Payment may be made by check or PayPal.  We will be happy to send you an itemized invoice.

If cancellation is necessary, please notify us in writing by email.   After January 15, 2011, no refunds are possible; however, we will make every possible effort to fill your reserved space.  If you cancel before January 15, 2011, we will refund 50% of your deposit or $250.  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.

To get your questions answered and to register, contact: or call (919) 274-6194

Please make your deposit payable to Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC, and mail it to:  Norma Hawthorne, 110 Blue Heron Farm Rd., Pittsboro, NC 27312.  Thank you.

This workshop is produced by Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.  We reserve the right to alter the program and substitute instructors.  For more information, see: