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Norma writes for Selvedge Magazine Issue #109 -- Rise Up, November 2022
Norma Writes for Selvedge Latin Issue #89
What is a Study Tour: Our programs are designed as learning experiences, and as such we talk with weavers 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. Our interest is in creating connection and artisan economic development.
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
Norma Contributes Two Chapters!
- Norma Schafer and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC has offered programs in Mexico since 2006. We have over 30 years of university program development experience. See my resume.
Study Toursd are personally curated and introduce you to Mexico's greatest artisans. They are off-the-beaten path, internationally recognized. We give you access to where people live and work. Yes, it is safe and secure to travel. Groups are limited in size for the most personal experience.
Programs can be scheduled to meet your travel plans. Send us your available dates.
Designers, retailers, wholesalers, universities and other organizations come to us to develop weaving relationships, customized itineraries, study abroad programs, meetings and conferences. It's our pleasure to make arrangements.
Select Clients *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
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
Telling Stories: Art Huipil Mixed Media Workshop
The Art Huipil Workshop in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico just ended. Our instructor Lena Bartula says, Textile is text, which is why she incorporates stories, messages, poems and other writing into the mixed media art workshop she teaches. Textile is also cultural subtext, telling personal stories of the makers through pattern and design.
Exquisite Corpse Huipil — Group Collaboration
The huipil is the oldest Mesoamerican clothing form worn by women. Each woman who weaves a piece of cloth on a back-strap loom has to tell that is incorporated into the cloth. No two garments are alike. They may incorporate similar materials and patterns, but they are arranged differently, reflecting our distinctiveness.
Each woman uses symbols that reflect her personal and village history, and place in the world. Each chooses yarn and thread colors important to her, mother, grandmother and village tradition. The way the symbols flow through the garment is a message about life. Our instructor La Huipilista Lena Bartula, guides along the creative pathway.
Arrepentimientos by Vicki Solot
We take this Mexican tradition and use the huipil concept to create our own stories. We bring cloth, scissors, thread, canvas, handmade paper, ribbons, photographs, paints, drawing pens, glue, memorabilia and our imaginations.
We take field trips to local markets to collect paraphernalia. We look down on street pavement and in gardens to incorporate found objects. We determine what to edit, what is more or less, what is meaningful. We make art.
We laugh. Dance. Eat. Sing. Rest and renew. We make an altar to bless each other and our work. We celebrate the creativity and spirit within.
We celebrate the completion of our work and time together with a spirited exhibition of our work, followed by a fiesta dinner complete with handmade chilis rellenos, roast chicken, tortillas, salsa verde, potato empañadas and a divine dessert called Pastel Imposible — chocolate cake topped with flan.
As we say goodbye, we lay out our huipils. The sun is shining. The air is clear and warm. The days have sped by quickly and each participant takes away an art piece to display, a memory of an unparalleled experience in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Here is our work:
Workshop participants and our collage of huipils.
I Love Mexico by Carol Egan
Quierdos — Dear Ones, by Ellen Benson
Finding Teotitlan by Sherry Bone Peel
Bad Girl by Ellen Benson
Natural Grace by Vicki Solot
Gracias a la Vida/Yin by Ruth Greenberger
Let It Be by Sherry Bone Peel
Gracias a la Vida/Yang by Ruth Greenberger
More or Less by Norma Hawthorne
Let me know by email if you are interested in participating next year. I am starting an early notification list.