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Norma Writes for Selvedge Magazine Issues #89 + #109
Creating Connection and Meaning between travelers and with indigenous artisans. Meet makers where they live and work. Join small groups of like-minded explorers. Go deep into remote villages. Gain insights. Support cultural heritage and sustainable traditions ie. hand weaving and natural dyeing. Create value and memories. Enjoy hands-on experiences. Make a difference.
What is a Study Tour: Our programs are designed as learning experiences, and as such we talk with makers 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. We create connection and help artisans reach people who value them and their work.
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
We Contribute Two Chapters!
Meet Makers. Make a DifferenceOaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC has offered programs in Mexico since 2006. We have over 30 years of university, textile and artisan development experience. See About Us.
Programs can be scheduled to meet your independent travel plans. Send us your available dates.
Designers, retailers, wholesalers, curators, universities and others come to us to develop artisan relationships, customized itineraries, study abroad programs, meetings and conferences. It's our pleasure to make arrangements.
Select Clients *Abeja Boutique, Houston *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 *MINNA *University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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
Oaxaca Portraits: Parade of the Baskets, Teotitlan del Valle 2011
Oaxaca festivals are more than colorful. They are a sacred experience. Every year beginning on July 5 and lasting for a week, the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle celebrates its Catholic origins and saint day to honor the church–La Iglesia de Preciosa Sangre de Nuestro Senor Jesucristo. The festival includes an opening celebratory parade — the Parade of the Baskets (Calenda de las Canastas), followed by the Dance of the Feather (Danza de la Pluma), special dinners, and a traveling carnival that overtakes the entire market area complete with rides and food stalls.
Framed by the baskets they will carry on their heads
During the late afternoon on July 5 more than a hundred young women participated in with the Calenda de Preciosa Sangre de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo. They first gather in groups of about 25-30 at the various homes of the members of the village governing committee.
Janet Chavez Santiago
Then, they travel by truck to the church where they assemble and form the parade line, accompanied by their family sponsors.
Gathering for the Calendula
I am fortunate to know the family members of Casa Santiago. Our photography expedition group had the privilege of being invited to the home of Pedro Santiago Mendez, the president of the church, where the young women gathered and waited to be transported. It was a delicious photo opportunity to capture the intimacy and mystery of the celebration through portraiture.
Wearing traditional dress
All the aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews gathered at the patron’s home to begin the celebration, prepare the celebratory meal to be taken at the end of the calenda, and offer traditional family support and camaraderie.
The young women who participate in make a commitment to the traditions of the village by wearing the indigenous dress and honoring their history. A requirement is that they are unmarried.
Now, only the older generation wears the traditional dress in daily life, so preserving this through the calenda is an important Teotitlan del Valle value.
La senora de la casa with granddaughter
Mother and son
Our photography expeditions create an intimate experience. See our Day of the Dead Photography Expedition that will offer a similar opportunity for access and exploration.
Guisado, celebratory stew on the comal--muy rico!