Tag Archives: Chiapas

New Treasures in My Etsy Store

It’s a laid-back world here in Taos, New Mexico. The dress of choice is either blue jeans and a T-shirt or hiking pants with elastic cuffs to keep out the noseeums. I’ve adapted my dress to put a Oaxaca or Chiapas blouse or huipil over pants to be able to wear some of the textile treasures I have brought with me into this new life. I’m trying to balance the vibe between Woo-Woo and Shi-Shi. Santa Fe is a mere 60 miles away, but it’s a different world, where visitors and those with second homes wear layers of Navajo and Kewa jewelry.

Last week, I went to an opening at the Millicent Rogers Museum. Most of the women were casually dressed (more or less), but adorned in magnificent Squash Blossom Necklaces, laden with turquoise and silver. This level of jewelry is not in my wheelhouse. However, I managed to fit in (somewhat) with my hiking pants and boots, topped with a naturally-dyed gauze Oaxaca huipil from Khadi Oaxaca. The task at hand for me now is to continue to downsize and edit my collection. Living in the land of hiking trails has its benefits, but also demonstrates that the social life is pretty low-key.

So, I’ve listed some treasures on my Etsy Store.

If you are interested in any pieces, you can either contact me directly to buy from me direct or you can purchase on Etsy. If you contact and buy direct from me, I will offer you a 10% discount. Just describe the piece you want. No discount with direct purchase from Etsy. norma.schafer@icloud.com I will send you an invoice and you can pay with Zelle, Venmo or PayPal. It will include $12 mailing cost. Thanks very much, Norma

Second Section: Chiapas Textile Study Tour–Deep Into the Maya World, March 2022

March 8 -16, 2022 – 8 nights and 9 days, starting at $2,795

SOLD OUT. Email me to get on the wait list. This tour is strictly limited to 10 participants.

At Oaxaca Cultural Navigator, we aim to give you an unparalleled in-depth travel experience to participate and delve deeply into indigenous culture, folk art and celebrations. Our hope, too, is that we will all be well and it will be safe enough to travel to Chiapas by March 2022. If for any reason we must cancel this tour, you will receive a full 100% refund. See notes below about COVID vaccination requirements to travel with us and our cancellation/refund policy.

The Maya World of Chiapas, Mexico, spans centuries and borders. Maya people weave their complex universe into beautiful cloth. Symbols are part of an ancient pre-Hispanic animist belief system. In the cloth we see frogs, the plumed serpent, woman and man, earth and sky, the four cardinal points, moon and sun, plus more, depending on each weaver.

We go deep into the Mayan world of southern Mexico, from February 22 to March 2, 2022. While we focus on textiles, we also explore what it means to be indigenous, part of cooperative, live in a remote village, have agency and access to economic opportunity. We meet creative, innovative and talented people who open their doors and welcome us.

Our dates of March 8-16, 2022, are reserved in a fine historic hotel. 8 nights, 9 days in and around the San Cristobal de Las Casas highlands.

Cost • $2,795 double room with private bath (sleeps 2) • $3,295 single room with private bath (sleeps 1)

We are based in the historic Chiapas mountain town of San Cristobal de las Casas, the center of the Maya world in Mexico. Here we will explore the textile traditions of ancient people who weave on back strap looms.

Women made cloth on simple looms here long before the Spanish conquest in 1521 and their techniques translate into stunning garments admired and collected throughout the world today. Colorful. Vibrant. Warm. Exotic. Connecting. Words that hardly describe the experience that awaits you.

We are committed to give you a rich cultural immersion experience that goes deep rather than broad. We cover a lot of territory. That is why we are spending eight nights in this amazing Pueblo Magico — Magic Town — to focus on Maya textiles, weaving and embroidery traditions.

Our cultural journey takes us into villages, homes and workshops to meet the people who keep their traditions vibrant. We explore churches, museums and ancient cemeteries. This is an interpersonal experience to better know and appreciate Mexico’s amazing artisans.

Your Study Tour Leader is Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We have invited Sheri Brautigam, author of Living Textiles of Mexico, to participate as our expert resource guide (to be confirmed).

Take this study tour to learn about:

  • culture, history and identity of cloth
  • cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation
  • wool spinning and weaving
  • clothing design and construction
  • embroidery and supplementary (pick-up) weft
  • Maya textile designs — iconography and significance
  • village and individual identity through clothing
  • social justice, opportunities and women’s issues
  • market days and mercantile economy
  • local cuisine, coffee, cacao and chocolate
  • quality and value

We work with one of San Cristobal’s best bilingual cultural guides who has worked with weavers and artisans in the region. Alejandro is a native Mexican who knows textiles and can explain the meaning of the woven symbols embedded in the cloth. You will enjoy learning from him.

We will travel in a large comfortable van as we go deep into the Maya world. We promise a sanitized van and all necessary precautions during our visits.

  • We visit 6 Maya weaving villages
  • We enjoy home-cooked meals
  • We meet makers and directly support them
  • We go far and away, off-the-beaten path
  • We decode the weaving designs unique to each woman and village
  • We explore three towns on their market days
  • We understand the sacred, mysterious rituals of Maya beliefs

Who Should Attend  Anyone who loves cloth, culture, and collaboration • Textile and fashion designers • Weavers, embroiderers and collectors • Photographers and artists who want inspiration • Resellers

Daily Itinerary

Tuesday, March 8: Travel day. Arrive and meet at our hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas. You will receive directions to get from the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport to our hotel. The airport is a clean and modern facility with straightforward signage. You will book your flight to Tuxtla from Mexico City on either Interjet, AeroMar, Volaris or Aeromexico. To find best routes and rates, search Skyscanner.com There are plenty of taxis and shuttle services to take you there. Your cost of transportation to/from San Cristobal is on your own. Taxis are about $55 USD or 800 pesos. Shared shuttle is 180 pesos or about $10 USD.

Wednesday, March 9: On our first day in San Cristobal de las Casas, we orient you to the textiles of the Maya World. You will learn about weaving and embroidery traditions, patterns and symbols, women and villages, history and culture. After a breakfast discussion, we will visit Centro Textiles Mundo Maya museum, Sna Jolobil Museum Shop for fine regional textiles, meander the Santo Domingo outdoor market that takes over the plaza in front of the church, and visit two outstanding textile shops. We guide you along the walking streets to get your bearings. We finish the morning together with a Group Welcome Lunch. (B, L)

Thursday, March 10: Tenejapa is about an hour and a world away from San Cristobal de Las Casas. Today is market day when villagers line the streets filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and household supplies. Peer into dimly lit doorways to find hidden textile treasures. We’ll meander the market to see what’s there. In years past, I’ve found some stunning shawls, huipils and bags. Keep your eyes open. Then, we will visit the outstanding textile cooperative founded by Doña Maria Meza Giron. After a box lunch at the centuries- old Romerillo Maya cemetery, we continue on up another mountain to visit Maruch (Maria), a Chamula woman at her rural home. Surrounded by sheep and goats, Maruch will demonstrate back strap loom weaving and wool carding, and how she makes long-haired wool skirts, tunics and shawls. Perhaps there will be some treasures to consider. Return to San Cristobal de Las Casas in time for dinner on your own. (B, L)

Friday, March 11: After breakfast, we set out for a full morning at Na Bolom, Jaguar House, the home of anthropologist Franz Blom and his photographer wife, Gertrude Duby Blom. The house is now a museum filled with pre-Hispanic folk art and jewelry. We walk the gardens and learn about Franz and Trudy’s work with the Lacandon tribe and their relationship with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. After hot chocolate there we go to the outskirts of town to an outstanding women’s weaving cooperative that was founded over 40 years ago. You will learn about international collaborations and textile design that conserves traditions while meeting marketplace needs for exquisite and utilitarian cloth. After lunch on your own, we meet in the early evening to visit Museo de Trajes Regionales and humanitarian healer Sergio Castro, who has a large private collection of Maya indigenous daily and ceremonial dress representing each Chiapas region. (B)

Saturday, March 12: We set out by foot to a nearby textile collaboration that houses three different cooperative groups, one of which is founded by Alberto Lopez Gomez who was invited to New York Fashion Week in 2020. We hear presentations about creativity, style, innovation, and how to incorporate tradition while breaking new ground. Next, we stop at Los Leñateros, the hand-made paper workshop that is also a graphics arts print studio. You will have the afternoon and evening on your own. (B)

Sunday, March 13: This is a big day! First we go to San Lorenzo Zinacantan, where greenhouses cover the hillsides. Here, indigenous dress is embellished in exquisite floral designs, mimicking the flowers they grow. First we meander the open-air market, then visit the church, bedecked in fresh flowers. Next stop is magical, mystical San Juan Chamula where the once-Catholic church is given over to a pre-Hispanic pagan religious practice that involves chickens, eggs and coca-cola. You’ll find out why. We’ll roam Chamula’s abundant textile market, compare and contrast fabrics and designs. (B, L) Dinner on your own.

Monday, March 14: Today, we make a study tour to the textile villages of San Andres Larrainzer and Magdalena Aldama. This is another ultimate cultural experience to immerse yourself into families of weavers in their humble homes. We will see how they weave and embroider beautiful, fine textiles, ones you cannot find in the city markets or shops. They will host a show and sale for us, and we will join them around the open hearth for a warming meal of free range chicken soup, house made tortillas, and of course, a sip of posh! (B, L)

Tuesday, March 15: This is expoventa day! We have invited one of the finest embroiderers of Aguacatenango blouses, an amber wholesaler, an organic coffee grower/roaster, and other artisans to show and sell their work. Afternoon is on your own to do last minute shopping and packing in preparation for your trip home. We end our study tour with a gala group goodbye dinner. (B, D)

Wednesday, March 16. Depart. You will arrange your own transportation from San Cristobal to the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport. The hotel guest services can help. It takes about 1-1/2 hours to get to Tuxtla, plus 1-2 hours for check-in. Connect from Tuxtla to Mexico City and then on to your home country.

What Is Included

• 8 nights lodging at a top-rated San Cristobal de las Casas hotel within walking distance to the historic center and pedestrian streets

• 8 breakfasts • 4 lunches • 1 grand finale gala dinner

• museum and church entry fees

• luxury van transportation

• outstanding and complete guide services

The workshop does NOT include airfare, taxes, tips, travel insurance, liquor or alcoholic beverages, some meals, and local transportation as specified in the itinerary. We reserve the right to substitute instructors and alter the program as needed.

Cost • $2,795 double room with private bath (sleeps 2) • $3,295 single room with private bath (sleeps 1)

Reservations and Cancellations.  A $500 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 October 1, 2021. The third 50% payment of the balance is due on or before December 15, 2021. 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 December 15, 2021, there are no refunds. If you cancel on or before December 15, 2021, we will refund 50% of your deposit received to date. After that, there are no refunds.

If we cancel for whatever reason, we will offer a 100% refund of all amounts received to date.

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. You must also wear CDC-approved face masks, use hand-sanitizer, and maintain all public health precautions. By the time we travel, it is likely booster vaccinations will be required and you will need that, too.

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

Terrain, Walking and Group Courtesy: San Cristobal de las Casas is a hill-town in south central Chiapas, the Mexican state that borders Guatemala. The altitude is 7,000 feet. Streets and sidewalks are cobblestones, mostly narrow and have high curbs. Pavement stones are slippery, especially when walking across driveways that slant at steep angles across the sidewalk to the street. We will do a lot of walking. Being here is a walker’s delight because there are three flat streets devoted exclusively to walking. We walk a lot — up to 10,000 steps per day at a moderate pace. We recommend you bring a walking stick and wear sturdy shoes.

NOTE: If you have mobility issues or health/breathing impediments, please consider that this may not be the program for you.

Traveling with a small group has its advantages and also means that independent travelers will need to make accommodations to group needs and schedule. We include plenty of free time to go off on your own if you wish.

Mexico Textile Treasures for Sale

I’m down to two boxes and half-a-closet of textiles and I want to sell them all before I move from North Carolina to New Mexico. These are new, never worn or used, bought from artisans whose work I admire, respect and wanted to support. Often, along the way and through the years, I bought just to support them and know that someone out there — like you — would appreciate the workmanship as much as I do. I usually don’t bargain hunt nor do I haggle on the price. I look for quality of cloth, weaving, embroidery and color. Quality is so spectacular and prices so fair based on time to create, that I considered it an honor to purchase these pieces.

Lots to choose from: 43 pieces.

SOLD. #0 Amusgos pillow cover. 18-1/2″ square. $55
#1. By Designer Alberto Gomez Lopez, Magdalena Aldama, 22″x25″ $585 $450

Alberto Gomez Lopez is a talented young designer from the Chiapas village of Magdalena Aldama in the Chiapas highlands about 2 hours beyond San Cristobal de las Casas. In January 2020 he was invited to New York Fashion Week, showcasing the back strap loom weaving of his family cooperative.

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.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 Zelle. I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal. All sales final.

Some of these pieces I ordered especially for resale to help artisans I know who are struggling to earn enough to feed their families. Your purchases will send money back to Mexico for them.

SOLD. #2. Tenancingo ikat shawl by Luis Rodriguez, 28″ wide x 92″ long, $245 $195

Luis Rodriguez is one of the foremost ikat weavers of Tenancingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico. Click on THIS LINK to see a video of his work. This is a full length, wide shawl, ample enough to wrap around your shoulders twice with comfort. The punta — fringes — are especially long and intricate. This piece came from his workshop-studio.

SOLD. #3. Ikat scarf by Luis Rodriguez, 31″ wide x 58″ long. $95 $70
SOLD. #4. Vintage ikat textile from Guatemala 23″ w x 40″ long. $75 $45
#5. French knots blouse, Size SMALL by Francisca, Chiapas. $120 $75

Francisca lives and works in a one-room concrete block house in Aguacatenango, Chiapas, with her husband and daughter. We discovered her about four years ago when we visited the village. Her workmanship is the best embroidery I have ever seen — dense, perfect French knots.

#6. Las Sanjuaneras, wild marigold. 35×40″ $425. $385

The Las Sanjuaneras cooperative is one of the most creative and innovative in the State of Oaxaca. They live and work in a small village, San Juan Colorado, in the highlands off the Coast of Oaxaca. They work only in cotton with natural dyes that they make themselves. It can take six to eight months to weave an exceptional collector’s huipil like the one above. Someone! Please purchase these pieces so I can send funds to the weavers!

SOLD. #7. Las Sanjuaneras, iron oxide + indigo, size L. 30×34″ $245 $195
#8. Las Sanjuaneras, 31×21-1/2″ Brazilwood, nanche. $295 $245
#9. Las Sanjuaneras, Iron oxide, mahogany. 36×37″ $425 $385
#10. Collector’s–Xochistlahuaca Cooperative. 31×50. Gala Huipil. $675 $585

Yezi in Xochistlahuaca, Guerrero, an Amusgo village, sent pieces to me to sell for her cooperative. They are remote and have little opportunity to market their pieces. This is a special GALA huipil woven and worn for special occasions. Please support what they do!

#11. Amusgo, size L, 29×50″ $245 $195
#12. San Mateo del Mar Palafox family, fine cotton with indigo. 25Wx48L $595 $525

The Palafox family are the premier weavers in the coastal village of San Mateo del Mar. They were devastated by the recent earthquake. This is a VERY FINE back-strap loom woven huipil dyed with indigo. Figures include crabs, palm trees, deer, fish — life at the beach!

#13. San Mateo del Mar Poncho, 100% cotton, 37″W x 31″ Size L-XL. $425 $375

Warm enough for winter, this poncho is double-woven and glorious.

#14. French knots by Francisca, Aguacatenango, Chiapas. Size M. $120 $95
SOLD. #16. Super-Fancy Apron. San Miguel del Valle, Oaxaca. L-XL. $145 $115
SOLD. #17. Collector’s huipil, San Felipe Usila, Oaxaca. L-XL. $595 $495

This piece is woven by Jorge Isidro’s mother. Where is San Felipe Usila? Between Veracruz and Oaxaca, high in the mountains, a 12-hour bus ride from Oaxaca City. Pieces like this are selling for upwards of $700 in the city.

SOLD. #18. Everyday apron, Tlacolula, L-XL. $65 $45
SOLD. #19. Fancy Apron. San Miguel del Valle, Oaxaca. L-XL. $125 $95

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.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 Zelle. I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal. All sales final.

#20. Rare Xochistlahuaca, Native Green, Coyuchi + White Cotton Huipil, 30×46, $750 $650

I’ve marked this piece down to sell. It is gorgeous, soft and luxurious native Oaxaca cotton.

SOLD. #21. Size Large, French Knots blouse by Francisca, $120 $95
#22. Las Sanjuaneras, 30×21″ $320 $260
#23. Chiapas. 23″ wide x 24″ high. $55

Finest, softest cotton with intricate embroidery from Jolom Mayetik Cooperative.

SOLD. #24. San Andres Larrainzar, back-strap loom. Cotton. 26″ wide x 27″ high. $65
SOLD. #25. Chiapas. Aldama Magdalenas. 26″ wide x 28″ high. $45

Aldama Magdalenas is a Maya village almost three hours from San Cristobal de las Casas. We visit the cooperative formed by Rosa and Cristobal during our Chiapas Textile Tour. This is a traditional village that depends on weaving and subsistence farming.

SOLD. #26. Chiapas. 23″ wide x 24″ high. $55
SOLD. #27. Amusgo, Oaxaca. Ruana. 30″ wide x 20″ high. $45.

The ruana is a garment that is like a poncho, but open in the front. You can wear this as shown, or wrap the front flaps around your shoulders. Open on both sides.

SOLD. #28. Beautiful cochineal bag from Bii Dauu Cooperative. $55

Measures 10″ high x 13″ wide. Bii Dauu has been working in natural dyes for over 25 years in Teotitlan del Valle. The work is exceptional. This bag has a zipper and is lined with an inside zip pocket.

SOLD. #29. Chiapas. San Juan Chamula 9 x 11. $25

A great shoulder bag for toting accessories, make-up or travel documents. Amazing embroidery on natural combed sheep wool.

SOLD. #30. Tito Mendoza loomed shoulder bag. 7″x8″ $85

Erasto “Tito” Mendoza wove this bag for me many years ago. The Mendoza family of Teotitlan del Valle is known for their outstanding craftsmanship. It’s been in my collection for years. I still have a couple others! You may recognize the weaving style. Tito is the first cousin of famed Arnulfo Mendoza who passed a few years ago.

#31. Chiapas. Guitar strap or belt. 2-1/2″ x 32″ $25
#32. Folk art blouse. Jamiltepec, Oaxaca. 25″wide x 22″ high. $45

This is a traditional style from the Oaxaca coast created on the back strap loom and then embellished with embroidery. Fun, funky wearable art.

SOLD. #33. San Antonino Deshillado + Embroidered Blouse. 24″ w x 25″ long. $45

This is the village that makes the Oaxaca wedding dress! The blouse features finest embroidery of birds, pansies, and flowers. Deshillado is the pulled thread openwork treatment — a complex, intricate process.

SOLD. #34. Chiapas. 25″w x 27″ long. $65

This textile is from the famous cooperative Sna Jolobil founded by Chip Morris and Pedro Meza. It’s priced at far less than what I paid for it.

#15 Isthmus of Tehuantepec. 24″ wide x 21-1/2″ high. $55
SOLD. #35. Large, handwoven market bag, colored with smoke. Chiapas. $95

These market bags are made from natural plant fiber. The leather straps are adjustable. A perfect expandable bag to go anywhere and hold anything. They are hand-woven by one of the few remaining old men who do this type of work. It takes about 3 months to weave.

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.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 Zelle. I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal. All sales final.

SOLD. #36. Medium market bag. Chiapas. $75
SOLD. 37. Small market bag, $65.
SOLD. #38. Yalalag village blouse. Little embroidered people! 22″wide x 26″ tall. $25
SOLD. #39. Chiapas, Jacquard woven shawl or table runner. 12×70″ $65
#40. Indigo ikat + zapote negro, 22×33″. $295 $275
SOLD. #41 Indigo, cochineal, undyed wool, 23×36″ $285 $255
#42. Cochineal, indigo, marigold, pomegranate, 23×23″ $195 $175
#43. Indigo, undyed wool, cochineal, pomegranate, 23×23″ $195 $175

February 2022: Chiapas Textile Study Tour–Deep Into the Maya World

February 22 to March 2, 2022 – 8 nights and 9 days, starting at $2,795

We are hopeful for 2022! We are SOLD OUT and I’m taking a wait list. Please send me an email if you want to join the wait list. There is a possibility I will open a second section. A $500 deposit will secure your place. This tour is strictly limited to 10 participants.

At Oaxaca Cultural Navigator, we aim to give you an unparalleled and in-depth travel experience to participate and delve deeply into indigenous culture, folk art and celebrations. Our hope, too, is that we will all be well and it will be safe enough to travel to Chiapas by February 2022. If for any reason we must cancel this tour, you will receive a full 100% refund. See notes below about COVID vaccination requirements to travel with us.

The Maya World of Chiapas, Mexico, spans centuries and borders. Maya people weave their complex universe into beautiful cloth. Symbols are part of an ancient pre-Hispanic animist belief system. In the cloth we see frogs, the plumed serpent, woman and man, earth and sky, the four cardinal points, moon and sun, plus more, depending on each weaver.

Andrea with her award-winning huipil, San Andres Larrainzar
San Juan Chamula woman, Los Leñateros print + paper making studio

We go deep into the Mayan world of southern Mexico, from February 22 to March 2, 2022. While we focus on textiles, we also explore what it means to be indigenous, part of cooperative, live in a remote village, have agency and access to economic opportunity. We meet creative, innovative and talented people who open their doors and welcome us.

Church official, Zinacantan, Chiapas
Melanie brought 25 boxes of crayons to give to children along the way

Our dates of February 22 to March 2, 2022, are reserved in a fine historic hotel. 8 nights, 9 days in and around the San Cristobal de Las Casas highlands.

Cost • $2,795 double room with private bath (sleeps 2) • $3,295 single room with private bath (sleeps 1)

We are based in the historic Chiapas mountain town of San Cristobal de las Casas, the center of the Maya world in Mexico. Here we will explore the textile traditions of ancient people who weave on back strap looms.

Ancient Maya cemetery, San Juan Chamula
We distributed more than 50 pairs of glasses to help weavers see

Women made cloth on simple looms here long before the Spanish conquest in 1521 and their techniques translate into stunning garments admired and collected throughout the world today. Colorful. Vibrant. Warm. Exotic. Connecting. Words that hardly describe the experience that awaits you.

Home goods for export made on flying shuttle pedal loom
Extraordinary gauze woven huipil from Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas

We are committed to give you a rich cultural immersion experience that goes deep rather than broad. We cover a lot of territory. That is why we are spending eight nights in this amazing Pueblo Magico — Magic Town — to focus on Maya textiles, weaving and embroidery traditions.

Saints dress in traditional garments, Magdalena Aldama
Julia and friends in Tenejapa during Carnival

Our cultural journey takes us into villages, homes and workshops to meet the people who keep their traditions vibrant. We explore churches, museums and ancient cemeteries. This is an interpersonal experience to better know and appreciate Mexico’s amazing artisans.

Embroidered skirts and shawls, Zinacantan Sunday Market

There will be only ONE study tour to Chiapas in 2022.

Your Study Tour Leader is Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We have invited Sheri Brautigam, author of Living Textiles of Mexico, to participate as our expert resource guide (to be confirmed).

Lynn and Andrea — of course! She bought it.

Take this study tour to learn about:

  • culture, history and identity of cloth
  • cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation
  • wool spinning and weaving
  • clothing design and construction
  • embroidery and supplementary (pick-up) weft
  • Maya textile designs — iconography and significance
  • village and individual identity through clothing
  • social justice, opportunities and women’s issues
  • market days and mercantile economy
  • local cuisine, coffee, cacao and chocolate
  • quality and value
Men wear flowers, too, in Zinacantan

We work with one of San Cristobal’s best bilingual cultural guides who has worked with weavers and artisans in the region. Alejandro is a native Mexican who knows textiles and can explain the meaning of the woven symbols embedded in the cloth. You will enjoy learning from him.

Keeping the edges straight on a back-strap loom

We will travel in a large comfortable van as we go deep into the Maya world. We promise a sanitized van and all necessary precautions during our visits.

  • We visit 6 Maya weaving villages
  • We enjoy home-cooked meals
  • We meet makers and directly support them
  • We go far and away, off-the-beaten path
  • We decode the weaving designs unique to each woman and village
  • We explore three towns on their market days
  • We understand the sacred, mysterious rituals of Maya beliefs
Innovative colors with traditional designs from Alberto Lopez Gomez

Who Should Attend  Anyone who loves cloth, culture, and collaboration • Textile and fashion designers • Weavers, embroiderers and collectors • Photographers and artists who want inspiration • Resellers

Winn finds a treasure at our Regrets Sale on the last day

Daily Itinerary

Tuesday, February 22: Travel day. Arrive and meet at our hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas. You will receive directions to get from the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport to our hotel. The airport is a clean and modern facility with straightforward signage. You will book your flight to Tuxtla from Mexico City on either Interjet, AeroMar, Volaris or Aeromexico. To find best routes and rates, search Skyscanner.com There are plenty of taxis and shuttle services to take you there. Your cost of transportation to/from San Cristobal is on your own. Taxis are about $55 USD or 800 pesos. Shared shuttle is 180 pesos or about $10 USD.

Fine food and beverage is a cornerstone of our visit, too

Wednesday, February 23: On our first day in San Cristobal de las Casas, we orient you to the textiles of the Maya World. You will learn about weaving and embroidery traditions, patterns and symbols, women and villages, history and culture. After a breakfast discussion, we will visit Centro Textiles Mundo Maya museum, Sna Jolobil Museum Shop for fine regional textiles, meander the Santo Domingo outdoor market that takes over the plaza in front of the church, and visit two outstanding textile shops. We guide you along the walking streets to get your bearings. We finish the morning together with a Group Welcome Lunch. (B, L)

Carnival in Tenejapa, Chiapas

Thursday, February 24: Tenejapa is about an hour and a world away from San Cristobal de Las Casas. Today is market day when villagers line the streets filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and household supplies. Peer into dimly lit doorways to find hidden textile treasures. We’ll meander the market to see what’s there. In years past, I’ve found some stunning shawls, huipils and bags. Keep your eyes open. Then, we will visit the outstanding textile cooperative founded by Doña Maria Meza Giron. After a box lunch at the centuries- old Romerillo Maya cemetery, we continue on up another mountain to visit Maruch (Maria), a Chamula woman at her rural home. Surrounded by sheep and goats, Maruch will demonstrate back strap loom weaving and wool carding, and how she makes long-haired wool skirts, tunics and shawls. Perhaps there will be some treasures to consider. Return to San Cristobal de Las Casas in time for dinner on your own. (B, L)

Maruch using a warp board called stairway to the moon to prepare back-strap loom
It was cold in the Chamula highlands at over 7,000 feet altitude

Friday, February 25: After breakfast, we set out for a full morning at Na Bolom, Jaguar House, the home of anthropologist Franz Blom and his photographer wife, Gertrude Duby Blom. The house is now a museum filled with pre-Hispanic folk art and jewelry. We walk the gardens and learn about Franz and Trudy’s work with the Lacandon tribe and their relationship with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. After hot chocolate there we go to the outskirts of town to an outstanding women’s weaving cooperative that was founded over 40 years ago. You will learn about international collaborations and textile design that conserves traditions while meeting marketplace needs for exquisite and utilitarian cloth. After lunch on your own, we meet in the early evening to visit Museo de Trajes Regionales and humanitarian healer Sergio Castro, who has a large private collection of Maya indigenous daily and ceremonial dress representing each Chiapas region. (B)

Sergio Castro explains Naha Lacondon jungle rituals

Saturday, February 26: We set out by foot to a nearby textile collaboration that houses three different cooperative groups, one of which is founded by Alberto Lopez Gomez who was invited to New York Fashion Week in 2020. We hear presentations about creativity, style, innovation, and how to incorporate tradition while breaking new ground. Next, we stop at Los Leñateros, the hand-made paper workshop that is also a graphics arts print studio. You will have the afternoon and evening on your own. (B)

Alberto Lopez Gomez combines tradition with innovation and creativity

Sunday, February 27: This is a big day! First we go to San Lorenzo Zinacantan, where greenhouses cover the hillsides. Here, indigenous dress is embellished in exquisite floral designs, mimicking the flowers they grow. First we meander the open-air market, then visit the church, bedecked in fresh flowers. Next stop is magical, mystical San Juan Chamula where the once-Catholic church is given over to a pre-Hispanic pagan religious practice that involves chickens, eggs and coca-cola. You’ll find out why. We’ll roam Chamula’s abundant textile market, compare and contrast fabrics and designs. (B, L) Dinner on your own.

Alejandro and Maria Meza Giron, Tenejapa
Magdalena Aldama back-strap loom weaving, the finest

Monday, February 28: Today, we make a study tour to the textile villages of San Andres Larrainzer and Magdalena Aldama. This is another ultimate cultural experience to immerse yourself into families of weavers in their humble homes. We will see how they weave and embroider beautiful, fine textiles, ones you cannot find in the city markets or shops. They will host a show and sale for us, and we will join them around the open hearth for a warming meal of free range chicken soup, house made tortillas, and of course, a sip of posh! (B, L)

Hearty lunch Rosita + Cristobal, Magdalena Aldama, Chiapas
Bitty peeks out from behind exquisite cloth, San Andres Larrainzar

Tuesday, March 1: This is expoventa day! We have invited one of the finest embroiderers of Aguacatenango blouses, an amber wholesaler, an organic coffee grower/roaster, and other artisans to show and sell their work. Afternoon is on your own to do last minute shopping and packing in preparation for your trip home. We end our study tour with a gala group goodbye dinner. (B, D)

Enjoying cocktail hour in hotel garden before gala dinner

Wednesday, March 2. Depart. You will arrange your own transportation from San Cristobal to the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport. The hotel guest services can help. It takes about 1-1/2 hours to get to Tuxtla, plus 1-2 hours for check-in. Connect from Tuxtla to Mexico City and then on to your home country.

What Is Included

• 8 nights lodging at a top-rated San Cristobal de las Casas hotel within walking distance to the historic center and pedestrian streets

• 8 breakfasts • 4 lunches • 1 grand finale gala dinner

• museum and church entry fees

• luxury van transportation

• outstanding and complete guide services

The workshop does NOT include airfare, taxes, tips, travel insurance, liquor or alcoholic beverages, some meals, and local transportation as specified in the itinerary. We reserve the right to substitute instructors and alter the program as needed.

Cost • $2,795 double room with private bath (sleeps 2) • $3,295 single room with private bath (sleeps 1)

Melanie adorned in pompoms and her Cancuc huipil

Reservations and Cancellations.  A $500 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 October 1, 2021. The third 50% payment of the balance is due on or before December 15, 2021. 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 December 15, 2021, there are no refunds. If you cancel on or before December 15, 2021, we will refund 50% of your deposit received to date. After that, there are no refunds.

If we cancel for whatever reason, we will offer a 100% refund of all amounts received to date.

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. You must also wear CDC-approved face masks, use hand-sanitizer, and maintain all public health precautions.

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

Pom poms are us, and Sheri models them well!
Meet our guide, Alejandro — a knowledgeable textile and cultural translator, too

Terrain, Walking and Group Courtesy: San Cristobal de las Casas is a hill-town in south central Chiapas, the Mexican state that borders Guatemala. The altitude is 7,000 feet. Streets and sidewalks are cobblestones, mostly narrow and have high curbs. Pavement stones are slippery, especially when walking across driveways that slant at steep angles across the sidewalk to the street. We will do a lot of walking. Being here is a walker’s delight because there are three flat streets devoted exclusively to walking. We walk a lot — up to 10,000 steps per day at a moderate pace. We recommend you bring a walking stick and wear sturdy shoes.

NOTE: If you have mobility issues or health/breathing impediments, please consider that this may not be the program for you.

Traveling with a small group has its advantages and also means that independent travelers will need to make accommodations to group needs and schedule. We include plenty of free time to go off on your own if you wish.

Sunnie and Phoebe from behind a flying shuttle pedal loom at rest

Mostly Mexico Mixed Bag Sale: Textiles, Jewelry

There are 29 items in this sale today. They include earrings, necklaces and bracelets, handwoven and natural dyed wool rugs from Oaxaca, and two beautiful pieces of clothing. It’s a mixed bag! All are reduced significantly as I prepare to make my move to Taos, NM. Prices start as low as $15. I hope you find something you like. Please scroll down to be sure you see everything.

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.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, Zelle, and I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee).

#1 Vintage 1950’s Mexican Sterling and Moonstone, 7″ long. $225 $165
SOLD. #2 Vintage Mexican Silver + Turquoise Bracelet, 7-1/2″ long. $135 $75
SOLD. #3 Vintage Raoul Sosa Designer 1970’s Bone Bracelet, 5″ inside, opening is 1-1/8″ $295 $195
SOLD. #4 20 Centavos Silver 1939 Mexican Coin Bracelet, 7-1/2″long. $125 $65
SOLD. #5 Oaxaca faceted onyx, pearl + sterling filigree. 3/4″x1/2″ $45 $37
SOLD. #6 Mexico Sterling silver filigree and garnet. 1-1/2″ x 1″ $20 $15
#7 Vintage cast sterling silver + pearls Butterfly earrings. 1-1/4″ x 2″ $55 $35
SOLD. #8 12K Gold filigree and coral. 1″x1/2″ $125 $90
#9 12K gold finest filigree earrings. 2″x1″ $235 $155
SOLD. #10 Oaxaca Chou design bead earrings 2-1/2″x1″ $45 $25

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.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, Zelle, and I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee).

SOLD. #11 Vintage 12K gold filigree, pearl, glass. 1″x1-3/4″ $225 $160
SOLD #12 Federico Jimenez Oaxaca signed turquoise and silver, 2-1/4″x1″ $225 $185
SOLD. #13 Mexican onyx and sterling button earrings. 7/8″ x 1″ oval $25 $20
SOLD. #14 Israeli designer Ayala Bar. 3/4″x1″ $50 $20
SOLD. #15 Sterling silver, India. 2″x1″ $55 $45
#16 Vintage Oaxaca Virgin of Soledad Sterling and White Heart Glass Beads, 19″ $385 $325
#17 India Vintage Rabari tribal necklace, adjustable. 26″ $135 $95
#18 Oaxaca, black hand-polished clay beaded necklace, 21″ $75 $65
#19 Vintage Morocco Bedouin Amber, Coral and Metal Necklace, 17″ $295 $195
SOLD. #20 Chiapas Maya Coin Necklace, Ties to adjust length. $25 $15

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.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, Zelle, and I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee).

SOLD. #21 New Mexico hand-cut/inlay turquoise, onyx, spiny oyster necklace, 20″ $185 $135
#22 New Mexico turquoise, coral + sterling pendant, $65 (does not include chain) $40
SOLD. #23 Oaxaca Black Clay Bead Mexican Coin Necklace, 20″ $65 $35

The four rugs below can be used on floor, wall, or to adorn furniture. Woven on a treadle loom by Taller Teñido a Mano in Oaxaca, Mexico, they feature all natural dyes created in the studio. Sturdy and beautiful.

#24 Indigo ikat + zapote negro, 22×33″ $295 $250
#25 Indigo, un-dyed wool, cochineal, pomegranate, 23×23″ $195 $155
#26 Indigo, cochineal, un-dyed wool, 23×36″ $285 $250
#27 Cochineal, indigo, marigold, pomegranate, 23×23″ $195 $155
#28 Chiapas designer Alberto Lopez Gomez, size small, 22″x25″ $495 $420 — featured at 2020 New York Fashion Week
SOLD. #29 Designer Camelia Ramos, Malinalco, Esto. de Mexico,
ikat poncho, 100% cotton, $175 $125