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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 email@example.com
- 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
Five Meaningful Books About Mexico to Recommend and Why
I travel to Oaxaca, Mexico, regularly and someday, hopefully soon, I will be there more frequently for longer periods of time. I am fascinated by the richness and vibrancy of the culture, archeology, history and art. Art is everywhere. From the food in the markets to the textiles and crafts to fine art expressed through painting and sculpture and the ballads vocalized by Lila Downs and Susana Harp. There is tradition in Mexico that is manifested through form, color and texture.
As a consequence, I am most apt to select my reading material based on its relevancy to Mexico, Oaxaca, political and historical developments, and artistic expression. I recently completed reading (1) “The Lacuna” by Barbara Kingsolver. It is an extraordinary novel about a writer raised in Mexico and influenced by the icons of the thirties, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Leon Trotsky The book explores the dichotomy of identity that is so prevalent among Mexican social and cultural position — the duality of indigenous and Spanish heritage, asking the question: Where do I belong?
(2) I just ordered and received “Oaxacan Ceramics: Traditional Folk Art by Oaxacan Women” by Wellesley College professor Lois Wasserspring. I recently met Lois and we talked about the extraordinary pottery created by Dolores Porras who recently died and is featured in her book. I am fortunate to have a few of Dolores’ pieces.
(3) Another favorite is “Zapotec Women, Gender, Class and Ethnicity in Globalized Oaxaca” by cultural anthropologist and professor Lynn Stephen who teaches at the University of Oregon. The title says it all. While it is a college text, it is a great read and if you are interested in women’s issues, roles and rights in Mexico, you’ll find this informative and not dense.
(4) Right next to that is “Made in Mexico: Zapotec Weavers and the Global Ethnic Art Market” by W. Warner Wood, assistant professor of anthropology and museum studies at Central Washington University. He describes the economic forces that drive prices and production of handwoven textiles in Teotitlan del Valle.
(5) Finally, “Zapotec Weavers of Teotitlan” by Andra Fischgrund Stanton features fabulous photographs of handwoven tapestry rugs and other textiles made by master weavers in the village, including my friend Federico Chavez Sosa. It includes personal stories and family histories, along with weaving techniques and materials used for dyeing wool.
I never cease to be amazed by the talent in Oaxaca. These books are treasures to enrich my understanding and appreciation of this incredible region.