Monthly Archives: October 2021

Preparing for Day of the Dead, Oaxaca 2021

Our Oaxaca Day of the Dead Culture Study Tour is underway. We started in the City two days ago and we’ve now landed in Teotitlan del Valle for the duration of our time here. There are 12 of us, me, our co-leader Eric Chavez Santiago and 10 supportive and adventurous participants. We are all double-vaccinated and some of us have had our third booster. All the artisans we visit wear masks and 90% have been vaccinated.

Iconic Santo Domingo Church, Oaxaca, Mexico

On our first full day in the city, we welcomed two artisan groups to join us at the hotel for expoventas. Las Sanjuaneras came in the morning from San Juan Colorado on the Costa Chica of Oaxaca, nestled in the mountain range bordering the Pacific Ocean. Their village is about two hours north of Puerto Escondido. We have visited them for many years as part of our Oaxaca Coast Textile Tour. Total time to get to the city for them was 12 hours. Camerina, Brisaida and Edivigus brought hand-woven garments made by the 20 women who make up the cooperative. All the work is made on a back-strap loom and the cotton, much of it native hand-spun, is all dyed with native plants and cochineal.

Carrie models an extraordinary huipil from San Mateo del Mar, Oaxaca

During the day, we walked the cobblestoned avenues of the colonial town, photographing altars and costumed revelers, dipping into interesting textile shops, including Andares Arte Popular folk art gallery.

In late afternoon we greeted Jazmin and Liliana, daughters of famous San Mateo del Mar weaver Francisca Palafox. Francisca was just recognized by the Federal government as most important indigenous textile maker in Mexico. We were privileged to see her work, as well as the excellent pieces made by her daughters on the back strap loom. Both learned to weave complex, fine cotton and silk garments, as young teens. They now win awards on their own, too.

Array of blouses and huipiles from San Juan Colorado, Oaxaca

During Day of the Dead, starting October 30, we are told that weavers put aside their looms and think only of the return of their deceased family members. It is forbidden to work during these days. Each village will observe Day of the Dead somewhat differently, depending on custom and geography. Ritual food at San Mateo del Mar, an Ikoots speaking village, will include fish since its a village of fishermen.

Altar under construction at Andares Arte Popular folk art gallery

In the coastal highlands, where the people speak Mixtec, their traditions will require them to dress in masks and dance to keep the devil away from snatching loved ones while they are out of the grave. There is a strong African-Mexican tradition along the coast that traces its origins back to Mexican slave history — those who worked the mines and sugar can fields.

Brisaida and Camerina tell us about the symbols in cloth and dye materials

Today, we go to the village market to buy the essentials to make our own altar at our B&B. It will include chocolate, bread, candles, flowers, nuts and fruit. We will add our family portraits of loved ones passed and offer our tributes to their memory.

Honoring the dead is an essential element of the rituals these days and it is an honor to be part of small village celebrations. We will present gives of these altar offerings to families we visit in the next few days.

Shop decor, Oaxaca city

Collector’s Textile Sale: Preview 4

It’s been 19 months since I’ve been to my home in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. In the past several years I’ve been walking, and eating for health (gluten and lactose free). Most of the handwoven clothes I have, mostly from Oaxaca and Chiapas, do not fit! If you wear a size Medium, Large or Extra Large, then look closely below for some beautiful  
blouses (blusas) and dresses (huipiles). Many rare, most with natural dyes.

How to buy: Tell me the item you want by number. Send me your mailing address. I will send you a PayPal invoice after you ID your choices. The invoice will include the cost of the garment + $12 mailing. If you want more than once piece, I’m happy to combine mailing. I’ll be mailing from Taos, NM when I return after November 15.

SOLD. 4.1. From San Pedro Amusgo on the Oaxaca coast, a fine, intricate flower embellished huipil woven on the backstrap loom. This is NOT embroidered but completely loom created. 25” wide x 34” long. $225.
#4.2. From Zacoalpan, Guerrero, an Amusgo huipil woven by a family that grows its own native cotton. This one is RARE natural green cotton —pre-Hispanic. 28” wide x 28” long. $295.
SOLD. 4.3. A beautiful poncho from Chiapas. 100% cotton with handmade ties with fringes on the sides. 34” wide x 38” long. $175.
#4.4. Cute little handwoven pullover scarf from Puebla. $10.
SOLD 4.5 Free-form machine embroidered blouse from Tlahuitoltepec. Sturdy cotton. 20” wide x 24” long. $75.
SOLD 4.6. From the Chinantla region of Oaxaca, where the Flor de Piña dance originated. Have you seen this huipil at the Guelaguetza? A true collector’s piece! 26” wide x 48” long. $595
SOLD. 4.7. Designed by Living Textiles of Mexico’ Sheri Brautigam, a pullover scarf made fromTenancingo ikat woven cotton and fine crochet joinery. One size. $45.
#4.8. Dreamweavers from Pinotepa de Don Luis, Oaxaca collection piece. Backstrap loom woven. Wine red threads embellish traditional designs with handspun cotton. 31” wide x 49” long. $495 —way less than what I paid for it!
#4.9. From Remigio Mestas and Los Baules de Juana Cata, a naturally dyed poncho made on the backstrap loom. 42” wide x. 32” long. $345
SOLD 4.10. A pullover scarf from Puebla, lacy. One size. $10.
#4.11. Vintage embroidered blouse from the Chatino people in the mountains above Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. Lacy crochet trim and a gathered neckline that is adjustable. Look at those poinsettias. Perfect for Christmas. 18” across front of bodice and 29” long. $250.

SOLD 4.12. Yes. I’m letting this go. Way too big. The most gorgeous weaving from Dreamweavers in Pinotepa de Don Luis. Indigo and caracol púrpura. Look at all those figures. Months to make. By Amada. 29” wide x 29” long. $375.

Collector’s Textile Sale: Preview 3

It’s been 19 months since I’ve been to my home in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. In the past several years I’ve been walking, and eating for health (gluten and lactose free). Most of the handwoven clothes I have, mostly from Oaxaca and Chiapas, do not fit! If you wear a size Medium, Large or Extra Large, then look closely below for some beautiful
blouses (blusas) and dresses (huipiles). Many rare, most with natural dyes.

How to buy: Tell me the item you want by number. Send me your mailing address. I will send you a PayPal invoice after you ID your choices. The invoice will include the cost of the garment + $12 mailing. If you want more than once piece, I’m happy to combine mailing. I’ll be mailing from Taos, NM when I return after November 15.

SOLD. 3.0. From Rancho Grande in the Chinantla region of Oaxaca in the mountains between the city and Veracruz. An eye-popping huipil with embroidered flowers and butterflies, birds and bees. 27” wide x29” long. Sells for over $400 in Oaxaca. $165.
SOLD #3.1. This open cut work is called deshilado. Very difficult to achieve. 100% natural cotton. Simple and elegant. 28” wide x 29” Long. $68.
SOLD 3.2. Blusa from San Antonino Castillo Velasco near Ocotlan. Bodice is filled with embroidered birds and flowers. Truly remarkable work. 24” wide x25”long. $125.
SOLD. 3.3. From Remigio Mestas and Los Baules de Juana Cata in Oaxaca City. Handwoven on backstrap loom. Indigo and iron oxide natural dyes. A fine blusa from San Juan Cotzocon. 27” wide x 27” long. $145.
SOLD 3.4. Dimensions and description same as #3.5. $72.
#3.5. From Remegio Mestas and Los Baules de Juana Cata, the finest indigenous textile gallery in Oaxaca. Size large. Cotton with intricate smocking to make the deer bodice design. 23” wide across chest, 29” long. $72.
SOLD. 3.6. Chiapas top. Sturdy cotton woven on the backstrap loom. 31” wide x 35”long. Embroidered trim around neck, sleeves, hem. Great with jeans. $75.
SOLD 3.7. From Pinotepa de Don Luis, caracol púrpura purple sea snail dyed threads embroidered collar on backstrap loomed fabric. 28” wide x 29” long. $185.
SOLD. 3.8. Elaborately woven gala huipil, the fanciest and most detailed from the Amusgo village of Xochistlahuaca, Guerrero just across the Oaxaca border. This is a $700 garment. Takes a year to weave. Gauzy for hot weather. 33” wide x 35” long. $350.
Sold. 3.9. From Pinotepa Nacional, a detailed embroidered collar on white back strap loomed fabric. 25” wide x 29” long. $145.
SOLD. 3.10. Khadi Oaxaca natural dye blusa in wild marigold and indigo design in the supplementary weft. Design is woven and not embroidered. Comfy and like a poncho but closed side seams. 32” wide x25”long. $95.
SOLD 3.11. Dreamweavers cooperative in Pinotepa de Don Luis. Rare caracol púrpura purple snail dye and handspun fine white cotton. Subtle. Elegant. 29” wide x 32” long. $175.
SOLD. #3.12. An outstanding example of an Arte de Amusgo huipil from San Pedro Amusgo and Odilón Morales in indigo and native brown coyuchi cotton that is hand spun. Woven on the backstrap loom. 28” wide x 40” long. A true collector’s piece. Look at the exquisite detail of the bodice. A $1,200 garment. Yours for $495.

Day-by-Day: Remembering Juvenal Gutiérrez, Teotitlan del Valle

In a week we will observe Dia de los Muertos here. In the city, it’s a big party. Many foreign visitors will arrive to eat, drink mezcal and make a rowdy show of Muertos that has become more like Halloween here. In the USA, Halloween — or All Hallows’ Eve — is said to rival Christmas in the amount of money spent on decorations.

in Teotitlan where I live, the small Zapotec village of around 7,000 people, observations are more traditional in keeping with pre-Hispanic culture fused with indigenous roots. My culture tour group will start on October 28, and I’ll be posting as we go along.

Right now, it is chilly and there is a fine rain that required me to search my closet for a wool covering and a long sleeve blouse this morning.

Yesterday, I went to visit Norma Gutiérrez and her daughter Lisette. Husband and father Juvenal died from covid in San Diego earlier this year. He was young and strong. In Spanish (with some translation help from Lisette) we talked about the existential question of life and death: WHY?

is there an answer? I suppose this is why religion exists — to help us accept the inexplicable and to give us hope that we may reunite with a loved one who has departed this world. It’s a perfect lead in to Dia de los Muertos—a mystical tradition that reveres the dead and welcomes them (their) spirit back into our lives each year.

Muertos is a time to honor and remember Juvenal’s life along with so many others list to this virus. We build an altar that includes favorite foods, beverages and the aromas of chocolate a d wild marigold guide the dead back home where they come to life for a day.

Memory plays a critical role. As I sat with Norma and Lisette, I returned to the time I first met Juvenal 16 years ago, when I visited the English class he was teaching. I thought of my own mother and father and wished they were still with me. And, I acknowledged that they are — in spirit.

Norma is a baker and makes delicious organic cakes. I brought back almond flour for her from the US to make me one that is gluten free. It costs $17 for a bag of this flour here! She will be baking for our grand finale tour dinner.

There is no better way to help families as they recover from loss but to sit with them to share their pain, and to support them economically.

Collector’s Textile Sale Preview 2

Over the years, I have collected handmade garments made by very talented women (and some men) in remote villages I have visited throughout Mexico. As I age, my body has changed. I’ve lost both height and weight. It does me no good to have these in my closet and I’m not starting a museum! All are fairly priced to give you an opportunity to treasure these wonderful pieces I have curated. Many have never been worn. I purchased them to support the artisans. Thank you for looking and considering.

Buy now and I will mail around November 15 when I return to New Mexico. Tell me the item number you want and your mailing address. I will send you a PayPal invoice and add $12 for mailing.

To order, send me an email. http://mail

14 pieces at various prices. Check them out.

SOLD. 2.1. A full length, gorgeous Dreamweavers huipil, 26” wide x 46” long. Indigo and caracol púrpura. All handmade on the backstrap loom. $325.
SOLD. #2.2. Las Sanjuaneras gauze blusa woven on the backstrap loom. From San Juan Colorado, Oaxaca. Indigo and coconut shell natural dyes. A lovely summer coverup or wear over a long-sleev T in winter. 29” long x 36” wide. Very drapy. $95.
#2.3. From Aguacatenango, Chiapas. Finely embroidered with smocking. All handwork, including seams. 22” long x 22” wide. 100% cotton. Will fit size medium. $55.
#2.4. CHAKIRA MEANS BEADED. This densely beaded blouse is covered completely on the bodice. It has needle lace trim interspersed with tiny red beads that trim the neckline. Made in the mountains of Puebla state. These blouses have sold in Santa Fe on the Plaza for $450. Yours for $200. Measures 22” wide x 27” long.
#2.5. Very nice embroidery on traditional Mexican dress. 100% cotton. 22” wide x 46” long. $55
#2.6. All natural dyes in this huipil woven on the Oaxaca coast by Jini Nuu Cooperative in San Juan Colorado It includes homegrown native Oaxaca cotton that is pre-Hispanic. $160. 27” wide x 45” long.
SOLD. 2.7. Two-tone indigo poncho embellished with double-headed eagles adorn this custom designed Egyptian cotton poncho from Remegio Mestas’ Los Baules de Juana Cata, Oaxaca. Soft, cozy, drapy. Open on the side. The best quality anywhere. Backstrap loomed. Rare. $275. 33” long x 40” wide.
#2.8. From the Papaloapan region of Oaxaca, between the city and Veracruz, in the Sierra Madre del Sur, this stunning dress is densely embroidered representing the region’s birds and flowers. Cotton. $170. 29” wide x 48” long.
#2.9. Like wearing a stained glass window, this is a traditional gala huipil from the Chinantla region of Oaxaca. Motifs feature The Tree of Life. I bought this directly from the maker. $255. (A steal. These sell for $600-700). Measures 28” wide x 40 long.
SOLD. #2.10. Elegant white on white huipil woven on the backstrap loom with fine cotton from the Amusgo region of Oaxaca along the Pacific coast. From one of the best women’s cooperatives. $395. 29” wide x 44” long.
#2.11. From Jamiltepec on the Oaxaca coast, a lively blusa that is both backstrap loomed and embroidered. Measures 24” wide and 24” long. $65.
SOLD. #2.12. I searched far and wide for the best example of a machine embroidered blouse from Tlahuitoltepec, Oaxaca. Here it is! Note: this is free-form, hand-guided embroidery—so it is really made by hand! With 3/4 length sleeves and amazing detail in the traditional colors. Sturdy 100% cotton. Measures 21” wide x 27” long. $72.
SOLD. 2.13. Natural dye 100% cotton ruana (modified poncho — closed in back, open in front) from the San Juan Colorado Cooperative Jini Nuu. Uses wild marigold and pomegranate for the dyes. Hand tied fringes. 24” wide x 28” long. One size fits most. $65.
SOLD. 2.14. Cotton warp and wool weft dyed with indigo and wild marigold distinguish this shawl woven by Arturo Hernández in Mitla. Cozy, warm. Measures 18” wide x 66” long. Hand tied fringes. $65.