More handmade bamboo baskets than you could ever count! Handmade cornhusk paper flowers in every color of the rainbow are yours for a dollar each. Want a bamboo airplane or dump truck for a child to play with or a birdcage to hang from your veranda? How about a market or waste basket or something grander to store laundry or anything else you want kept out of sight?
The Feria de Carrizo in San Juan Guelavia is all this and more. This Sunday, February 1, 2015, is the last day. Get there by ten in the morning to get first choice. Sample great food prepared on the spot, al fresco.
Save your breakfast until you get there. Take your pick from barbecue goat, chicken enchiladas with red sauce, chicken and pork pozole, hot chocolate, atole, homemade empanadas with tortillas fresh from the griddle. The food is all made women from local village organizations and the proceeds help fund the health center and other municipal endeavors. Notice the innovative wheel barrow stove! Mexicans are incredibly resourceful.
What makes San Juan Guelavia special and this festival unique is that the bamboo is grown in the village, stripped by hand, woven by hand, and is a dying craft worthy of preservation. Bamboo baskets, once used throughout the farming communities of Oaxaca, have now largely been replaced by plastic. The handwork ranges from very fine to utilitarian and considered an art form.
The local market is open, too. Last Sunday there was a farmer selling quail. Fruits and vegetables abound, including perfectly ripe avocados for five cents each. I couldn’t help myself and picked up a sapote negro, too. Stock up on garlic from neighboring Tlacochuaya or mangoes from the coast. The homemade ice cream, called nieves, was some of the best I’ve tasted anywhere in Oaxaca. Try the mamay (a tropical fruit) and nuez (pecan nuts).
One of the great things I discovered at the basket festival is a little tiendita on your left just before you get to the zocalo. They sell wild herb tobala mezcal, called arroqueño, produced by El Cortijo. I bought three bottles and will probably go back for more. It’s delicious and makes great gifts.
Susana Harp is this year’s madrina, the benefactress of the Feria. She was there last Sunday, and though she didn’t perform live, her songs were broadcast throughout the gathering area.
Day 1: Portrait Photography in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca
I organize the Oaxaca Portrait Photography Workshop based in Teotitlan del Valle to introduce experienced and novice photographers to the beauty, kindness and culture of Oaxaca’s people. Our workshop started today.
True to experience, instructor Matt Nager returned with lots of strategies for taking better people pictures. First we looked at and discussed examples from some of the best: Yousef Karsh, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Nadev Kander, Dan Winters and Matt’s portraits. We reviewed camera basics using manual settings and covered iPhone photography tips. Then, we took to the streets. After taking impromptu photos on the fly — asking local people for permission to photograph them (which combines both respectfulness and courage) — we went into a family home for a more formal session.
Each of us will edit each day and select our ten best photos each day. Here are what I chose for today’s best. At the end of the week, we will each present our twenty best of week after a series of feedback sessions and reviewing each others’ work.
Participants this year come from Canada and the United States of America, and one is a native of northern Italy. Our local fixer is photographer Luvia Lazo who helps us with the local Zapotec language and more complex Spanish translations. It’s wonderful to have her help!
Posted in Cultural Commentary, Oaxaca Mexico art and culture, Photography, Teotitlan del Valle, Travel & Tourism, Workshops and Retreats
Tagged class, conference, course, culture, Mexico, Oaxaca, photography, Teotitlan del Valle, Travel and Tourism, workshop