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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
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- 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
International Priests Visit Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca
The firecrackers call in early afternoon to announce that something spectacular was about to happen in the village later that day. It’s filled with surprises here. My neighbor Ernestina comes over in the morning to offer me 20 fresh, creamy chicken and mole amarillo tamales for 100 pesos.
Then, later tamales are served for lunch at the guest house where the felt fashion workshop participants assemble. It is not yet Dia de la Candelaria, when everyone eats tamales. What is going on? I wonder.
At six-thirty, the young men atop the bell tower ring the church bells. Rosario and Josefina say goodbye. Where are you going? A la iglesia. To the church, they say. There’s a fiesta to welcome 30 visiting priests from Columbia, China, Nueva York (New York), California and India. I follow the sound of the bells to the church courtyard.
Nearly the entire village gathers. I arrive just in time to be offered a fresh, steaming hot tamale, to see the children dressed in Dance of the Feather plumage dancing the re-enactment of the conquest, to hear the band play, and to see banquet tables filled with men who sip hot chocolate and eat tamales, served by traditionally dressed village women.
I hear that more than a thousand tamales are made that day by the women chosen to the traditional, pre-Hispance Jarabe del Valle dance. They are part of the church committee that supports the village festivals.
A master’s of ceremonies talks about cultural exchange, the many Zapotecs from this village who live and work and practice their traditions in towns throughout southern California, and how these priests help people to adapt, acclimate and stay connected to their roots. The Spanish is sprinkled with a little English to make the visitors more welcome.
Then, the women, holding branches of fragrant herbs welcome the guests to join them for the Jarabe del Valle. The men, towering above them, move their feet to the rhythm of the dance and catch on quickly.
The band played on.