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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
Pre-Hispanic Women’s Clothing Design: The Huipil Endures
Years ago, after I first arrived in Oaxaca, I discovered an incredible small book by Mexico City fashion designer Carla Fernandez. Taller Flora: Indigenous Dress Making Geometry of Mexico, Pre-Hispanic Origin (2006) is now difficult to come by. But, it has become my bible for easy-to-make, easy-to-wear, comfortable, flowing clothing that is versatile and beautiful.
The book is also my inspiration because it tickled an idea to develop the Felt Fashion Workshop several years ago.
During the week-long workshop, January 17-24, 2015, we use naturally dyed merino wool to make wet-felted cloth. Then, we sew it using the simple geometric patterns to construct the garments. Our instructor, Maddalena Forcella, is internationally-known for her work.
The results could be a jacket, a blouse, a shawl or scarf, a dress or a poncho. The quechquemitl is one of my favorites.
I was recently in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I saw jackets, blouses and dresses made with felt, sewn and blocked, selling for $500 to $800 USD and more. And, United States clothing designer Eileen Fisher uses variations for many of her patterns including the asymmetrical merino poncho priced at $248 USD.
There is more to the huipil than an article of clothing. It is a symbol of womanhood, female creativity and personal experience.
In ancient Mexican culture, each community created identity by weaving a distinctive pattern into the cloth. And, there were different pattern variations for important life cycle events like weddings , births and baptisms. The woven cloth told a story about the village and the woman who created that particular garment.
Art of the Huipil: Mixed Media Workshop
Scheduled the week before the Felt Fashion Workshop, set to start on January 8, the Art of the Huipil is a hands-on experience taught by artist Lena Bartula. During the five-day session, participants create a huipil based on their own personal stories, using found objects and those we collect during visits to local weavers and markets. The result is a piece of art suitable for hanging, if you wish.
In January, Oaxaca days are warm and mild. Evenings are cool and comfortable. We offer a perfect getaway from winter that is safe and affordable.
You do not have to be an experienced artist or seamstress to attend. All levels are welcome. This is about having fun and opening yourself up to the possibilities of creative self-expression in an encouraging, friendly place.
Questions? Contact Norma Hawthorne.