Monthly Archives: May 2023

ORIGINAL! Mexico City Weekend Textile / Fashion Extravaganza, November 2023

We have dates! This tour is confirmed for November 15-20, 2023, 6 days and 5 nights. Please arrive by 3 p.m. on November 15. Registration is open to attend Original 2023. This will get you home in time for Thanksgiving! 

We are limiting this immersion experience to 10 savvy travelers who are interested in the Mexico’s indigenous textile design, and the merging of traditional clothing with contemporary, innovative fashion. This is the top national textile event in Mexico and encompasses the work of over 400 textile artists from throughout the country. 

What we will do and see!

  • Attend VIP opening night with special guests from Mexico’s textile world and a preview party
  • See the Catwalk — three of them — that features top designers and weavers showcasing their work
  • Enjoy three full-days of meandering aisles of handmade + designed textiles from throughout Mexico
  • Learn about textile design and development in private sessions we arrange with experts
  • Savor Mexico City’s culinary talents at a celebratory group dinner

The tour includes:

  • 5 nights lodging
  • 5 breakfasts
  • Invitation to VIP opening night event and ticket
  • Admission to Original for three days
  • Transportation to and from our hotel to the Original venue
  • Celebratory group dinner
  • Private discussions with textile experts
  • Textile guide expertise with Eric Chavez Santiago and Norma Schafer

Original was developed by Mexico’s Ministry of Culture as a way to take the offensive against the international fashion industry that is appropriating the cultural patrimony of Mexico’s indigenous weaving communities. The term cultural appropriation describes the process of copycat fashion for economic gain by international clothing designers. We have heard too often of designers coming to Mexico, copying a village’s ancient designs, then producing these garments with exact replicas of the weaving or embroidery patterns, putting them on the runway, and marketing them as their original pieces without offering attribution or compensation to the communities that attach their indigenous identities to this clothing. The event term, Original, references the true origins of Mexico’s indigenous designs.

Put in words of the Ministry of Culture:

Original is a permanent cultural movement, generated from the Mexican Government, dedicated to raise awareness for the value of the artisanal work and the rights of collective ownership; it aims to build a new ethic in the relationship of the artisans and their communities with the national and international design industry. Each year, Original brings together textile artisan women and men from the the creative towns and communities in al Mexico to showcase their work.”

Our long weekend together will include lodging, five breakfasts, a gala dinner, talks, presentations with cultural anthropologists and top artisans invited to participate in Original. The weekend will also include guide and translation services, visits to Franz Mayer and folk art museums, transportation, and expert educational experiences to go deeper into the language of cloth. 

Cost: $2,395 per person shared room; $3,195 single room. A $500 non-refundable deposit will secure your reservation.

To register, please send an email to Norma Schafer.

Reservations and Cancellations.  A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to guarantee your spot. The balance is due in two equal payments. The second payment of  50% of the balance is due on or before July 1, 2022. The third 50% payment of the balance is due on or before September 15, 2022. We accept payment using online e-commerce only. We will send you an itemized invoice when you tell us you are ready to register. After September 15, 2022, there are no refunds. If you cancel on or before September 1, we will refund 50% of your deposit received to date less the $500 non-refundable reservation deposit. After that, there are no refunds.

We accept payment with Zelle (no service fee), with PayPal or Venmo (with a 3.5% service fee). Please tell us which payment method you prefer, along with your account name or phone number. We will send you a request for funds to complete your registration.

All documentation for plane reservations, required travel insurance, and personal health issues must be received 45 days before the program start or we reserve the right to cancel your registration without reimbursement.

NOTE: All travelers must provide proof of vaccination for COVID-19 to travel with us. Please maintain all public health precautions. As COVID-19 is waning, mask-wearing is optional though recommended.

How to Register:  First, complete the Registration Form and send it to us. We will then send you an invoice to make your reservation deposit.

To Register, Policies, Procedures & Cancellations–Please Read

Meet Us in Nashville, TN — Pop-Up, June 9-11, 2023

If you live in or near Nashville, TN, or want to make a weekend trip to this legendary music capital, come join us at Parachute Home in The Gulch neighborhood. We will be there for three full days with Galeria Fe y Lola handwoven and naturally dyed rugs, and beautiful wearables from southern Mexico — Oaxaca and Chiapas.

If you’ve never been to Nashville, or it’s been a while, here is the attraction. Nash is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and home to Vanderbilt University. Legendary country music venues include the Grand Ole Opry House, home of the famous “Grand Ole Opry” stage and radio show. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and historic Ryman Auditorium are Downtown, as is the District, featuring honky-tonks with live music and the Johnny Cash Museum, celebrating the singer’s life. 

When I was there in early April, I made a stop from Oaxaca on my way back to Taos to visit dearest friend Kathryn, who just moved from UNC Chapel Hill to a new job at Vanderbilt. I became enamored with Downtown Nash and Broadway, where music venues open to the street, and for the price of a tip to the musicians, you can hear some amazing tunes, all day and well into the night. We made a forage to Parachute Home and the manager who is originally from Northern Mexico, was keen on the idea of a pop-up. So, here we are! Janet Chávez Santiago will represent galería Fe y Lola, coming from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca.

Everyone is invited! Please distribute widely!

Ruta del Mezcal One-Day Tour

This is a NEW tour! Let us know when you plan to visit and we will schedule according to your availability (and ours!).

We call this the Ruta del Mezcal — the Mezcal Route Tour — because we travel along MEX 190 Pan American Highway along the Tlacolula Valley where our final destination of the day is a hidden gem, an off-the-beaten-path mezcal palenque we discovered last year. The mezcal making process is traditional, the beverage is among the best we have ever tasted, and it is priced right — far below the cost of bottles of equal superior quality produced by the big name brands. It’s our secret. You have to come with us to find out where they are! There is no signage along the route and it is tucked way back in the hills beyond the town of Santiago Matatlan, Mezcal Capital of the World.

First, we pick you up in Oaxaca at your place of lodging at 9:30 a.m. When you tell us you want to register, you let us know the name and address of where you are staying.

We make our first stop in the pottery making village of San Marcos Tlapazola where women have been making red clay pottery for hundreds of years, digging the clay in the foothills above town. They process it by hand, with sand, making a grog, drying it, and then forming it by hand into amazing vessels that are treasured souvenirs. We introduce you to the foremost pottery making cooperative of women, long-time friends, who are known for their amazing quality.

Another hidden treasure is the small dining room or comedor operated in the hills of Tlacolula where a renowned traditional cook makes the best mole we have tasted anywhere. This may be our lunch stop (although we have other favorite comedors, too). Not only does she make mole negro made with chocolate, chilies, and other spices, she brings out tastings of all of Oaxaca’s famous seven moles and you get to choose which one you want to eat. Wash it all down with a cerveza or a fresh fruit water drink. Truly a culinary experience equal to none you have ever tasted.

After lunch, we visit our dear friend Arturo, who works on a traditional back strap loom manipulated only by men in the town of San Pablo Villa de Mitla. He is dedicated to working in natural dyes. His workshop features home goods — blankets, throws, table linens, and clothing — shawls, ponchos and scarves, made from both cotton and wool, or a blend, made on the flying shuttle loom. The quality is impeccable.

And, finally, we take you for the mezcal tasting to end our day together with an a su salud — a toast to Oaxaca, with all her beauty and deliciousness.


$375 per day for one or two people. $175 per person additional. Tour fee does not include lunch or alcoholic beverages at lunch. The fee includes the mezcal tasting. You will cover the cost for lunch and beverages for all in your party, and the cost of food/beverage for your tour leader.

Schedule your dates directly with Norma Schafer. You reserve for the dates you prefer. Please send us a couple of date options. You are welcome to organize your own small group.  We match your travel schedule with our availability.

This is for a full day, starting at 9:30 a.m. when we pick you up and ending at around 6 p.m. when we return you to your Oaxaca lodging. Please provide us with hotel/lodging address and phone number.

Reservations and Cancellations

We require payment in full to secure your date. We offer you two ways to pay: 1) Zelle transfer (no fees), or 2) Credit Card payment with Square (4% service fee). Please tell us which payment method you prefer and the name or phone number associated with your account. When we receive funds, we will send you confirmation and details. Be sure to send us the name and address for where you are staying.

Cancellation Policy: If you cancel ten (10) full days or more before your tour, we will refund 50% of your fee via the same method you paid. After that, there are no refunds.

Chiapas Sheep Wool Rugs for Sale

Maruch and her sister Micaela are weavers in the San Juan Chamula village of Chilinjoveltik, in the highlands of Chiapas about twenty miles beyond San Cristobal de las Casas. The Chamula people love their churro sheep, never slaughter them for food (they are considered holy), and shear them for their lustrous, warm pelts.

They make an unusual felted textile manipulated with their feet after it has been woven. They use cold water on the woven textile and dance on it until the fibers of the wool come out in long strands. The result is fabric that looks like fur!

They use this for wooly skirts cinched with a colorful handwoven strap, for ponchos, and long ceremonial vests worn by village officials. These garments can cost the equivalent of $700-$1200 USD.

When I was there on our Chiapas Textile Study Tour last February, (we have some spaces open for 2024) I had this idea that smaller pieces could make amazing floor mats. I bought a couple of large pieces, cut and edged them, to use as a mat by the kitchen sink, by my patio door, and by my shower. I love the look and feel!

So, I commissioned Maruch and Micaela to make four pieces to offer them for sale. Perhaps you will love these as much as I do! All natural sheep wool. Will not unravel. Each measures approximately 28” x 30”. Cost is $250 each plus $14 mailing. They are in my possession. When you buy, I will ship!

How to Buy: Send an email to and tell me the item(s) you want to purchase by number, your email, your mailing address, your phone number, and which payment method you prefer: 1) Zelle bank transfer with no service fee; 2) Venmo or 3) PayPal each with a 3.5% service fee. Please send me your account name or number! I will send you a request for funds and then add on a $14 mailing fee. Happy to combine shipping if you buy more than one piece. These are one-of-a-kind. Note: Thank you for understanding that all sales are final. Please measure carefully.

#1 Black Rug

#2 White Rug

#3 Gray Rug

#4 Brown Rug — Note: This one below is not quite as densely felted as the others. You can see the warp and weft threads through the hair. Will sell for $210.

How to Clean: I hang mine from a clothes line to sway in the breeze! You can also shake vigorously outside. You can use a dog brush as well to brush out the fibers.