The Quiet of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca: Beauty in the Ordinary

Yesterday was the first in three days that I got beyond the courtyard of my host family to walk around the village.  It was a perfect day. The sky was, as we say in North Carolina, Carolina Blue.  At every turn, there were proud Mexican flags on rooftops catching the breeze. This was a simple, ordinary day in Teotitlan del Valle.


The morning sunlight caught the shadows of the yet-to-be-made fringes of this beautiful rug handwoven by Federico Chavez Sosa, hanging on the wall where I stay. When you are in Oaxaca, visit the family’s Galeria Fe y Lola at Cinco de Mayo #408 for best quality with natural dyes.


As I walk, I noted the empty streets, the quiet.  I could hear the beat of looms in rhythm to distant sounds of Ranchera music, the laughter of children playing in courtyards behind closed doors.  My destination was Bii Dauu cooperative to buy hand-woven, naturally dyed  handbags for an upcoming show I am doing in Atlanta in early December. Here I found Rafaela weaving a bag on her loom — a blue moon design just about completed.

Later, this bedspring fence caught my attention on several levels. The contrast of the wild marigold, the shadows of the wood frames like religious crosses, the sky descending into turquoise gray, the simplicity of the landscape.

The texture of wood, brick, metal, agave, the curve of mountains, the blur of distance at a construction site gave me pause that beauty is in all simple things.


Today, I leave the village for Oaxaca city, and the start of our Day of the Dead Photography Expedition.  The atmosphere will be charged with the energy of a festival with street entertainment, comparsas (parades), music, and visitors from all over the world.  I hold these images of rural Mexico close to me as a soothing touchstone.

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