Oaxaca Tapestry Weaving Workshop: Dancing on the Loom– 2015

Imagine! A 4-day hands-on weaving workshop in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca for a total of 4 nights and 5 days.   For beginners and experienced weavers, textile and fiber artists, knitters, designers, and anyone who wants to know more about traditional tapestry weaving.  Your instructor is master weaver Federico Chavez Sosa.  With optional add-on cooking class!

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Photos above: Workshop participant Claudia Michel, Portland, Oregon, chooses colors for her tapestry and watches as Federico demonstrates a technique.

Includes 22 hours of instruction, 4 nights lodging, 4 breakfasts and 4 dinners. Perfect for fiber artists, weavers, knitters, natural dye users, artists, teachers.  A great shared experience for families, too.

February 2015

  • Arrive February 7. Weaving workshop is February 8-11. $895 per person double occupancy (course details below).
  • Add-on Zapotec Cooking Class, February 12, $125 per person, includes lodging on February 11, dinner, breakfast, lunch, instruction and recipes.

April 2015

  • Arrive March 31. Weaving workshop is April 1-4. Be in the village for Semana Santa, Easter processionals.


Tapestry Weaving Workshop Tuition is $895 per person, including lodging (double occupancy), and most meals.  Workshop is limited to 6 participants. For a single room with private bath the cost is $1095.

Claudia's finished tapestry.

Claudia’s finished tapestry.

I cannot even find the words to tell Fredrico what a wonderful teacher he is — encouraging, patient, skilled, kind, with a sense of humor, and a master weaver. He loves color, and knows color and design. He encouraged me to be creative.  At the end of the last day, we had a great experience creating the end of my tapestry together. He was generous with all of the yarn colors and patiently made the spindles for me. He and Lola took the time to dye yarn today and show me each step of the process. I cannot even find words to tell them how grateful I am.  I have a magnificent tapestry to remind me of this extraordinary experience in my life.  And I have learned skills to take home and incorporate into my own weaving. Gracias a todo Fredrico y Lola!  — Claudia Michel, Portland, OR, August 6, 2013

WeavingWkshpClaudiaMichel-9Not only will you learn the way Zapotecs have been weaving for over 500 years, and dyeing for millenia, you will be experiencing village life through a very unique and personal perspective.

Brief History of Tapestry Weaving in Teotitlan del Valle: With the conquest of Mexico in 1521, the Spanish brought to Oaxaca the 2-harness tapestry loom, European weaving techniques, and sheep for wool.  They taught men to weave since European weavers were male, strong enough to work the heavy wooden beaters. Not much has changed in the last 500 years except that about half the women in the village also weave using this loom! Yes, we can!


About the Chavez Santiago Family Weavers.  They have traveled and exhibited throughout the United States, are in the permanent collections of galleries, museums and artists, including the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame. They have exhibited and lectured widely, including at the National Museum of Mexican Art (Chicago), the San Jose (CA) Quilt and Textile Museum, the American Tapestry Alliance, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Purdue University, and the University of California at Santa Cruz.

WeavingWkshpClaudiaMichel-14                                                                                                                                    Who Should Attend: Weavers, artists, knitters, textile designers, teachers, university students, anyone interested in weaving and natural dyeing techniques, and sustaining indigenous art forms using traditional methods.

Level of Experience Necessary: These are small group, hands-on workshops that can accommodate varying levels of ability, from beginner to advanced student. Because the size of each group is limited, you will receive individualized instruction and coaching from the master weaving family of Federico Chavez Sosa. More experienced weavers can create more complex projects.

Participants will have a personal loom for the session.  We will have the loom dressed (warped) and ready for you to begin weaving when you arrive. Materials include your choice of naturally dyed wool yarn from which you will weave a sampler textile that can be used as a wall hanging, pillow cover, or form the body of a purse or shoulder bag. You will select the wool from colors dyed with pomegranates, pecans, mosses, indigo, and cochineal.  Our participants have created amazing textiles that range from 18 inches to 30 inches in length in just four days.

What You Will Learn:

  • Traditional Zapotec weaving techniques, patterns and motifs that produce squares, stripes, diagonals, circles and color gradations;
  • Use of the two-harness pedal loom and shuttles;
  • Practice weaving simple or more complex patterns, depending upon your level of experience;
  • The cultural history of rug weaving in Teotitlan, ancient wool preparation techniques, natural dyeing methods, and how to discern synthetic dye use
  • Participate in natural dyeing demonstrations to see how the range and variety of color comes from native plant materials;
  • Complete a finished textile: cut the sample tapestry from the loom, clean the wool tapestry, twist and tie the fringes; and
  • Work under the expert guidance of weavers who have created extraordinary textiles for generations.

Day 1:  Arrive and settle in to your Bed and Breakfast lodge. Light supper included.

Weaving Workshop: Days 2-5, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Day 2: Arrive at the Chavez Santiago Family Weavers for an orientation and demonstration of Zapotec weaving patterns and techniques to create squares, stripes, diagonals and circles. Choose your loom and select the colors for your tapestry. Prepare the bobbins. Begin your project. (Breakfast and dinner included. Lunch on your own.)

Days 3-4-5: Participate in demonstrations and then practice using the two-harness pedal loom using a variety of shuttles to make more complex patterns and greater variety of colors, experiment with using the equipment on your own, see dyeing demonstration using cochineal, indigo, and wild marigold (pericone). Learn how to count threads to create a circle or square within the overall design. Finish off your piece by cutting it off the loom, rolling and tying fringes.

Day 6:  Depart for the airport and home after breakfast, or extend your stay in Teotitlan del Valle or Oaxaca city.


  • $895 per person shared room and shared bath
  • $1095 per person single room with private bath

Trailing Spouse Add-on for Weaving Workshop: $385.  Includes 5 nights lodging, 5 breakfasts, 5 dinners.

What Is Included:

  • All weaving equipment and supplies to create a finished wool tapestry sampler that is approximately 18” wide by 24” long
  • 22+ hours of supervised instruction in English
  • An educational reference notebook of workshop materials
  • 4 nights lodging with daily breakfast and dinner in Teotitlan del Valle at family-operated posada/bed and breakfast within easy walking distance of the weaving studio

How to Register: A 50% deposit is required to reserve your space.  Tell us you are ready to register and we will send you a PayPal invoice.  Payment is only accepted with PayPal.

Final payment of the balance is due 45 days before the program starts.   If the final balance is not paid by then, we reserve the right to treat the reservation as cancelled and no refunds are offered. Any registrations made within 45 days of the workshop start date must be paid in full at the time of registration.

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Cancellations and Refunds

If cancellation is necessary, deposits are refundable, as follows: cancellations must be made in writing by email.

Deposits may be refunded:

  • If cancellation is necessary, 50% of the deposit will be refunded up to 45 days before the program start date.
  • After that, deposits are not refundable.
  • If cancellation is necessary, you may apply the deposit to a future workshop scheduled in the same calendar year or transfer your registration to another person.
  • We reserve the right to cancel or reschedule workshops, in which case you may choose a 100% refund or to apply the tuition to a future workshop.

We accept payment with PayPal.  See “Register Today” for form and procedures. We will send you a PayPal invoice when you tell us you are ready to register.

What Is NOT Included:

  • Transportation in/to Mexico, Oaxaca and Teotitlan
  • Local transportation costs (bus, taxi, collectivo)
  • Gratuities and fees
  • Trip insurance, medical expenses, hospitalization, and other fees
  • Lunches and dinners (unless noted in the itinerary), snacks, liquor/alcoholic beverages
  • Optional afternoon side trips and excursions

Upon registration for the workshop, we will provide you with:

  • Transportation options to get from the Oaxaca airport to the city and to Teotitlan del Valle and your bed and breakfast
  • A self-guided tour map of Teotitlan del Valle
  • How to get from the airport to the village
  • A seasonal packing list, and travel tips to make your journey easier and fun

Note: Zapotec weavers use the pedal loom, which they stand at to work. People who have difficulty standing for any period of time, or who have back problems will want to consider this.  Many of Teotitlan’s streets and alleyways are cobblestone and/or dirt, with many uneven surfaces. It is a several block walk between lodging options and the weaving workshop. Please bring sturdy, comfortable walking shoes.


U.S. Citizens traveling to Mexico are required to carry a current passport, valid for at least three months after your re-entry to the U.S. It is your responsibility to obtain proper documentation. If you are not a U.S. Citizen, contact the Mexican embassy, consulate or national airline of Mexico for entry requirements.

Questions? Contact oaxacaculture@me.com

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