Here in Northern New Mexico the winds are gusting. While some of the early spring wildfires are contained, more are igniting, mostly from lightening strikes. Near Georgia O’Keeffe’s home in Abiquiu a new fire erupted in El Rito, a small mountain community about 30 miles from where I live. Scary stuff. Smoke obliterated the mountains and I had to wear a face mask in the car. The air smelled like a campfire. We are in severe drought conditions and global warming is taking its toll. A couple of weeks ago, an unusual early spring hurricane hit the Oaxaca coast hard. My friends reported lots of devastation. Climate change is wrecking havoc.
Meanwhile, I’m waiting for my small house to be completed on the Rio Grande Gorge. everything is delayed and costs have soared. It was supposed to be May, then amended to the end of June. I’m hoping for this so I can close, get my mortgage and return to Oaxaca in time for the Summer Textile Mountain Tour. Hoping this will happen, though not sure. (We can still register you — there are a few open spaces — register by June 20 and get 10% off!)
I’m still culling my collection and will continue to do so as I prepare for another move. Here are some wonderful pieces to offer to you today.
To Buy: Please send me an email with your name, email address, mailing address and include the Item Number you wish to purchase. We add $14 flat rate to mail and we are happy to combine orders in one shipment. Tell me if you want to pay with a Zelle transfer (no service fee) or use PayPal or Venmo (with a 3% service fee). For PayPal or Venmo, I will send you a request for funds. Thanks very much. -Norma
My modus operandi is to visit the homes and cooperatives of the finest weavers wherever I travel in Mexico and elsewhere. I can’t possibly wear everything I love. But that does not deter me from buying to support what they do. We hear time and again from weavers on our textile tours that the pandemic has wrought economic havoc on their lives and there have been few if any customers who come to visit and buy. Without this support, extraordinary artisans will give up their work and turn to something more economically sustainable — servers and cooks in restaurants, hotel maids, shop girls. The men who make the looms, leave to work in the USA to provide food for their families.*
We don’t want that to happen! So, here I am again, with a stash of beautiful textiles to offer to you for sale.
Buy now. I’ll be mailing after April 1 when I return to the USA.
How to Buy: mailto:email@example.com Tell me the item you want by number. Send me your mailing address. Tell me how you want to pay. Choose one of three ways.
You can pay one of three ways: 1) with Zelle (account number 919-274-6194) and no service fee; 2) with Venmo or 3) with PayPal. If you choose either #2 or #3, we add on a 3% service fee which is their charge to us, and we will send a Request for Funds to your email address. The request will include the cost of the garment + $12 mailing. If you want more than one piece, I’m happy to combine mailing. I’ll be mailing from Santa Cruz, CA, when I return to the USA after April 1, 2022.
*Agustin, the husband of my friend Francisca who made this blouse (above), left almost a year ago to work in a Chinese restaurant in High Point, NC, where he is washing dishes. He will be there another year to pay off debt incurred during the pandemic. She is at home with her daughter and mother.
Posted onWednesday, November 17, 2021|Comments Off on Francisca’s French Knot Blouses + Rosario’s Embroidered Shoulder Bags: Holiday Shopping
Just in time for the holidays! Colorful hand-embroidered blouses and shoulder bags from Mexico, yours to gift or for festive wearing during the next few weeks and beyond.
Francisca is an expert in embroidered blouses using the French Knot technique. She lives in Aguacatenango, a small Chiapas village about an hour-and-a-half from San Cristobal de las Casas. I met her in the plaza some years back during one of our Chiapas textile study tours (there is one space open in the March 8-16, 2022 tour). Her work was far and away the best quality of all the women there, with dense embroidery, all hand-finished seams (no machine stitching in this garment), and 100% Mexican cotton cloth called manta. During Covid, when there were no tourists (and there aren’t that many now, either), I began to order blouses from her to help the family earn income. She sent me this group of all LONG SLEEVE blouses to Oaxaca and I brought them back in my luggage.
The blouses are perfect for winter in southern climates. In the colder north, layer a white HeatTec t-shirt underneath for warmth.
Rosario is a friend from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. I asked her to start making these colorful embroidered shoulder bags last year, also during covid. Her family lives in a humble, concrete block house ringed by a dirt patio. In the traditional way, she cooks outside on the comal — making tortillas, tamales, beans and squash — the staples of campesinos throughout Mexico. The bags are lined, have an interior pocket and zippered closure. They are fun to wear daily or make a delightful, whimsical addition to any festive occasion.
Ethical sourcing and fair trade. I pay both these women outright for what I order at the price they ask. No bargaining! No questions asked. The money goes in their pockets immediately and we can all feel better that we are supporting women and Mexican artisan craft. Francisca told me she can only make two blouses a month! It takes Rosario a month to embroider the pieces to make eight bags. They are embroidered front and back.
How to buy: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org 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 one piece, I’m happy to combine mailing. I’ll be mailing from Taos, NM. Next day mailing guarantee if you order and buy before December 10. On December 11, I’m in transit to return to Oaxaca.
Size Medium/Large has an embroidered bodice that is 14” wide. Sleeve is 21” long from shoulder to cuff. (Longer sleeves this time!) 27” wide armpit to armpit. 28-1/2” long from shoulder to hem. $125 each.
Size Large/Extra Large has an embroidered bodice that is 16” wide. Sleeve is 21” long from shoulder to cuff. 29” wide armpit to armpit. 28-1/2” long from shoulder to hem. $135 each.
Care Instructions: Wash in cold water on delicate cycle in washing machine using a mild soap like Fels Naptha or baby shampoo. Do not use Woolite. Hang to dry. Use medium-hot iron to press. Or, dry clean.
SOLD 2. Blue, size L-XL.$135
Shown with Rosario’s shoulder bag.
SOLD. 4 Purple, size L-XL. $135
#5 Purple, size L-XL. $135
SOLD. 7. Red. Size L-XL. $135
Each bag is about 10” wide x 9” high and has a 44” strap that easily works as a cross-body bag.
I asked Rosario, my friend from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, to work with me on creating hand-embroidered blouses on machine-washable cotton — perfect for summer wearing. She said YES. They just arrived and are ready for purchase. The embroidery floss is cotton, too. These are whimsical floral designs. Each piece is very different. You can wash them on gentle and hang to dry, then give them a light pressing only if desired.
Blouses measure 25″ wide by 24-1/2″ long (more or less). They will fit most size Medium to Large. Take your measurements across the widest part of your torso to be sure. Even if you are size small, you could wear this as a very loose top that drapes beautifully. Good for casual wear with jeans or hiking pants, over a swimsuit at the pool or beach, or with a skirt. Take your pick!
In addition to the embroidered flowers, the cloth is sewn together with a randa. This is beautiful needlework that is almost like needle lace, intricate and stunning. You can see this detail in one of the photos below.
Blouses are $58. USD each.
To Buy: Please email me at email@example.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you an invoice to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Let me know if you want to buy using PayPal. Venmo or Zelle. I can also send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use these payment methods. All sales final.
Rosario is a talented seamstress and embroiderer. She has very little work these days and I ask her to make these blouses and the shoulder bags I have offered before to keep her employed. She and her family live very simply in a humble home. Thank you for considering this purchase.
Aguacatenango is a Chiapas Maya village about an hour-and-a-half from San Cristobal de Las Casas. The altitude is lower and temperatures warmer. The women there embroider exquisite natural cotton blouses, and we found the best of the best. Her name is Francisca, and along with her family members, she creates completely made-by-hand blouses — there are no sewing machines!
Usually, we bring Chiapas Textile Tour travelers to Aguacatenango to meet Francisca, but not this year! As covid-19 rages unchecked in Mexico and the USA, you know we have cancelled all our programs until late 2021. Artisan villages throughout Mexico are hard hit economically. There is no tourism to help sustain even the most talented. That’s why I contacted Francisca a few months ago to see how we could help by bringing this workmanship to us.
This time, I asked for larger sizes and specified the dimensions, along with the color-ways. This is a custom order that you will not find anywhere else!
12 pieces are available for sale.Limited selection.
Size XL — Bodice is 15″ wide, sleeve is 23″ long, blouse is 24″ long from shoulder to hem — 4 pieces
Size L — Bodice is 14″ wide, sleeve is 22″ long, blouse is 24″ long from shoulder to hem — 4 pieces
Size M — Bodice is 12″ wide, blouse is 24″ long from shoulder to hem — 3 pieces
Size S — Bodice is 10″ wide, sleeve is 21″ long, blouse is 22″ long from shoulder to hem — 1 piece
To Buy: Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please DO NOT SELECT buying goods or services–so we don’t pay commissions. We also accept Venmo and I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal.
Extra-Large Selection–4 available — 15″ wide bodice (A):
SOLD. 1. Blue, long sleeve XL, $140
SOLD. 2. Blue, long sleeve XL, $140
SOLD. 3. Red, long sleeve XL, $140
SOLD. 4. Red, long sleeve, XL, $140
Large Selection–4 available — 14″ wide bodice (A):
SOLD. 5. Large, Red, $120
SOLD. 6. Large Blue, $120
7. Large Blue, $120
8. Large Blue, $120
Size Medium Selection–3 available — 12″ wide bodice (A):
9. Beige, short sleeve Medium, $120
10. Beige, short sleeve, Medium, $120
11. Beige, short sleeve, Medium, $120
Size Small Selection–1 available — 10″ wide bodice (A):
12. Beige long sleeve, Small, $120
Textile Care: Dry clean or wash by hand. To wash, turn garment inside out. Immerse in cold water using a mild soap such as Fels Naptha or baby shampoo. Don’t use Woolite — it leeches color. Gently massage the cloth. Squeeze and roll in a towel to absorb excess water. Hang to dry. Use medium steam heat to iron if needed.
To Buy: Please email me email@example.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please DO NOT SELECT buying goods or services — so we don’t pay commissions. We also accept Venmo and I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal.
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
Norma contributes personal essay, How Oaxaca Became Home
Norma Contributes Two Chapters!
Click image to order yours!
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 Tours + Study Abroad 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 customized itineraries, study abroad programs, meetings and conferences. It's our pleasure to make arrangements.
Our Clients Include
*Penland School of Crafts
*North Carolina State University
*WARP Weave a Real Peace
We offer textile experiences in our studio where we weave and work only in natural dyes.You can see the process during our textile tours, dye workshops or customized weaving experiences. Ask us for more information about these experiences, customized scheduling, and prices.
Oaxaca has the largest and most diverse textile culture in Mexico! Learn about it.
1-Day OaxacaCity Collectors Textile Tour.Exclusive Access! We take you into the homes and workshops of Oaxaca State's prize-winning weavers. They come from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the Mixteca, Mixe, Amuzgos and Triqui areas and represent their weaving families and cooperatives here. For collectors, retailers, buyers, wholesalers, fashionistas.
1-Day Oaxaca Textile Walking Tour When you visit Oaxaca immerse yourself in our textile culture: How is indigenous clothing made, what is the best value, most economical, finest available. Suitable for adults only. Set your own dates.
February 5-13, 2023: Bucket List Tour: Monarch Butterflies + Michoacan. Spiritual, mystical connection to nature. Go deep into weaving, pottery, mask-making and more! We haven't offered this tour since 2019 and we anticipate it will sell out quickly. SOLD OUT
Stay Healthy. Stay Safe. In Oaxaca, wear your mask. Questions? Want more info or to register? Send an email to Norma Schafer.
Maps: Teotitlan + Tlacolula Market
We require 48-hour advance notice for map orders to be processed. We send a printable map via email PDF after order received. Please be sure to send your email address. Where to see natural dyed rugs in Teotitlan del Valle and layout of the Sunday Tlacolula Market, with favorite eating, shopping, ATMs. Click Here to Buy Map After you click, be sure to check PayPal to ensure your email address isn't hidden from us. We fulfill each map order personally. It is not automatic.
Dye Master Dolores Santiago Arrellanas with son Omar Chavez Santiago, weaver and dyer, Fey y Lola Rugs, Teotitlan del Valle