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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 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
Hormigas in the Salsa: Cooking in Oaxaca with Chef Pilar Cabrera Arroyo
People cook and eat in Oaxaca based on what’s available seasonally in local markets — or in their backyard. Today it was huitlacoche that was among the delicacies we could procure at the Mercado de la Merced. This is the neighborhood market where Pilar’s family shopped because they lived nearby. The market tour offers a great orientation to the cooking class.
And what about the hormigas? Pilar and her daughter Ita gathered the hormigas in the early dewy grasses of morning.
After a field trip foraging through the Mercado de la Merced for ingredients, we made our way to Pilar’s Colonia Reforma kitchen, ample enough for all eight cooking class participants to gather, learn and prepare the menu. There sat the hormigas, washed, plump and round in the metate waiting for the grinding stone and hand to pulverize them into the Salsa de Chicatana that would top the Memelitas appetizer. (Do you recognize them, below left?)
Add plenty of fresh squeezed lime juice! Pilar commented that hormigas are a great protein source. (I heard the same about chapulines earlier in the week from my friends in Teotitlan who liberally sprinkle this toasted, tasty treat on just about everything they eat.)
Our group of four Guanajuatecos were joined by two Estadounidenses and two Australians. Pilar easily went back and forth in English and Spanish with her instruction so that all the participants could understand each step. Complete menus in English guided us, too.
Before we sat down at the dining room table to the meal, we all gathered in the living room area for a mezcal tasting. Pilar brought out three different types of mezcal accompanied with orange and lime slices, plus gusano salt (ground worms, chiles, and sea salt) for dipping and sucking before or after sipping.
Menu del dia: 100% Oaxaca–memelitas, sopa de guias, chichilo con pollo or res (chicken or beef with Chichilo mole sauce), salsa de chicatanas, and nieve de mango (mango sorbet with a garnish of fruit of the nopal cactus called tuna).
The tourism and economic development delegation from Guanajuato is interested in starting a cultural tourism program in some of its smaller towns in the state. Organizing cooking classes is one goal they have, which is why we attended to see how the master of the kitchen Pilar organizes her programs.
Pilar’s hospitality and expertise provided a perfect example for them to model!
Casa de los Sabores Cooking School or website.
Mercado de la Merced (corner Murguia and Insurgentes, near Calle de la Republica)