Tag Archives: clothing

San Juan Colorado, Oaxaca, Where Textiles Tell Stories

San Juan Colorado is up the mountain about an hour-and-half from Pinotepa Nacional along the Costa Chica. It’s at the end of the road, so secluded that the Spanish Conquest and proselytizing priests didn’t reach here until much later. It’s why traditional backstrap loom weaving and natural dyeing have survived over the years.

Mostly women weave here, but some men are also learning. Girls start when they are around ten years old. Native wild preHispanic cotton grows here, too — caramel colored brown, mint green, creamy white make up the palette. White thread can also be dyed red with cochineal, blue with indigo, yellow with wild marigold, brown with nuts and bark. Brazilwood turns white cotton to a fucsia hot pink. Cooking cotton in an iron pot dulls the color. White becomes a soft grey.

We visit one of the oldest cooperatives, Jini Nuu. We gather in the courtyard under the shade of an almond tree The bark is also a dye material. Yuridia and Verónica welcome us. The older women are sitting on the ground, legs tucked under them, bare toes peeking out from their posahuanco wrap-around skirts, spinning cotton with the drop spindle, picking seeds from the cotton to get ready to spin it, and weaving on the backstrap loom.

Our group sits down for lunch. We are served tamales stuff with a local specialty of mangrove mussels and another type stuffed with chicken. There is a spicy beef broth soup, tasty fruit waters, avocado, Oaxaca queso fresco, and plenty of made in the comal tortillas. We are in foodie heaven. Our desert is a shot of Piedra de Alma mezcal.


Mid-afternoon we cross the village to visit Camerina and the Las Sanjuaneras cooperative where they weave beautiful gauze fabric and work only in natural dyes. Their oldest member is age 81 and their youngest is in her 30’s. Cooperatives are important social and economic organizations, offering ways to marketi and also provide mutual support.

Let us know if you want to go in 2023

Designs woven into the cloth are selected by each weaver. They I clise the flora and fauna of the region. Since we are near the coast, this includes crab, turtles, ducks, birds, stars, rainbows, mountains, scorpions, pine trees, corn plants, chickens. The row of women figures holding hands depicts solidarity. Shoulder decorations of zigzag depict the Feathers of Quetzalcoatl — the serpent god. The double-headed eagle has special significance: the duality of life, ting-hangs, man-woman, fertility.

Last Sale ‘Til Spring 2022: Oaxaca + Chiapas Textiles

This will be the last of my 2021 sales. I leave Taos, NM on my way back to Oaxaca on Decemberr 11. This sale features some outstanding pieces from Oaxaca and Chiapas, including blusas, ponchos, quechquemitls, ruanas, scarves and shawls. Please order and purchase by December 9 so I can get your pieces in the mail by December 10 (if not before)! There are 14 pieces — be sure to scroll down to see 4 BONUS pieces of jewelry from New Mexico I have included.

As I return to Oaxxaca, I’ll be writing about covid travel safety and precautions, protecting oneself from the new omicron variant, and other related issues. Meanwhile, I want to follow-up, too, on what I’ve been writing about how to visit Oaxaca with cultural sensitivity during covid. Tourism is so important to Mexico. It makes up most of the income of the informal economy (independent artisans). We don’t want to discourage safe tourism. We do want to discuss how to be a guest in indigenous villages where people are especially vulnerability. Only now is Mexico authorizing boosters for people over age 60. Vaccine access and administration is still a big issue. Most under age 30 are not vaccinated.

Related to this is a recent conversation I’ve had with Susan Coss of La Mezcalistas.My question is: How is mezcal changing the face of Oaxaca? We will be talking more about this, too. I’m still processing my experience being in Oaxaca during Day of the Dead.

So, if you want to bring a bit of Oaxaca and Chiapas home, consider making a purchase of these beautiful garments. Perfect holiday adornment — whether you celebrate quietly or with family and friends in an atmosphere of safety and respect. These make special, unforgettable gifts, too.

How to buymailto:norma.schafer@icloud.com Tell me the item you want by number. Send me your mailing address. I will send you a PayPal invoice (or use Zelle or Venmo if you prefer — just tell me in your email!) 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 to the post office guaranteed if you order and buy before December 9. On December 11, I’m in transit to return to Oaxaca.

SOLD. #12422.1. This is the most precious of what I’m offering today. If you are a collector, don’t pass this one by. An amazing Egyptian cotton back strap loom woven huipil/blusa from San Juan Cotzocon in Oaxaca’s Sierra Mixe. A special and rare piece from Remigio Mestas. A black and white masterpiece. Measures 29” wide x 25-1/2” long. Original price $750. Yours for $495.
SOLD. #12421.2. Called a ruana, this is an open front and sides poncho woven in Chiapas on the backstrap loom. 100% sturdy cotton adorned with sparkly silver threads — very festive and tasteful. Hand-twisted fringes. If you like, drape the front flaps over your shoulders and around your neck for warm and fashion drama. Measures 40” wide (each weft is 20” wide) x 26” long. $175.
#12421.2 Back view.
SOLD #12421.3. This is a French knot blouse from Francisca in Aguacatenango, Chiapas. I consider this a “second” because the bodice embroidery is not as dense as I like. So, I’m offering it at 50% less than the cost of the other blouses from her that I have listed before. Size M-L. Measures 26” wide arm pit to arm pit. Embroidered part is 13-1/2” wide. 28” long. $65.
SOLD #12421.4. Back strap loom woven scarf by Carmen Rion, Mexican designer who works with Chiapas artisans. Measures 21-1/2” wide x 90” long. Wrap it double around your neck for added warm! A graphic masterpiece in juicy lime and black. $125
SOLD. #12421.5 From the Amusgos weavers of Xochistlahuaca, Guerrero, a rare hand-spun scarf with homegrown native green, coyuche and white cotton — woven on the back strap loom. Wear it or hang it! 10-1/2” wide x 62” long. $75
SOLD #12421.6 Black and White blouse with crocheted neck trim woven on the back strap loom in Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas. Gauze weave. Perfect for hot summers or layer it over a Heatech long-sleeve T for winter comfort. Size M. Measures 23” wide x 24” long. $75
SOLD. #12421.7 Colorful scarf from Zinacantan, Chiapas. Fold it in a triangle and tie it at your neck. Guaranteed to perk up any outfit. 23” x 22”. Almost square! Handwoven on the backstrap loom. 100% cotton. $75
SOLD #12421.8 From Fabrica Sociale, a Chiapas cooperative, this poncho-blouse has all the fine detailing one would expect from a perfectly woven garment. The peach background shimmers because it is interwoven with contrasting pale yellow threads. The shoulders and side seams are closed with what is called a randa — very fine needlework. Measures 40” wide x 20” long. $85
#12421.9 Black, White and Red Neck Scarf hand-woven on the backstrap loom in Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas. Fold it in a triangle and tie it around your neck for pizzaz. Hand-tied tassles and fringes. Almost square. Measures 23” wide x 24” long. $75
#12421.10 A beautiful quechquemitl poncho in turquoise shimmering cloth from the studio of Remigio Mestas. 100% cotton. Drape and wear as a scarf, short poncho or general cover-up. Turn it so the points are in the front for an alternate look! Fashion for stripes going down back or across shoulders. Measures 36” wide x 22” long. $120
SOLD. BONUS: #12421.11 A pair of Santo Domingo Kewa Pueblo earrings with shell and precious stones inlaid on base of black jet. Dramatic. Mother of pearl, turquoise, jet, spiny oyster. Post backs. Made by famous artist Mary Tafoya who has been featured at the Santa Fe Folk Art Market and Indian Market, New Mexico. 3/4” wide at bottom. 2-1/2” long. $175
BONUS. #12421.12 Vintage pawn Navajo turquoise and silver cuff, likely from the 30’s or 40’s. Unmarked. Probably coin silver. Rare. 1-5/8” wide at widest part. Center stone measures 1” x 3/4”. This is a SIZE SMALL. Opening is 3/4” wide. Cuff on the inside measures 5” so the total is 5-3/4” I have seen similar in museum shops and Santa Fe galleries for $1,295. Yours for $650.
#12421.12. Side view. No chips or cracks. Excellent vintage condition.
#12421.12 Side view with stamp work and twisted metal bezel.
#12421.12 Inside view. Weighty but comfortable.
BONUS. #12421.13 Shell inlaid with jet, mother of pearl and turquoise. Measures 3” wide at widest point and 3-1/4” long. Chain not included. From Kewa Santo Domingo Pueblo, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. $165
BONUS. #12421.14 Shell pendant with inlaid turquoise, mother of pearl, jet and sterling silver. By Kewa Santo Domingo Pueblo jewelry maker Warren Nieto. 1-1/2” wide x 2-1/2” long. Chain not included. $125

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 buymailto:norma.schafer@icloud.com 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.

Blouse details:

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. 1A. Black. Size L-XL. $135
SOLD. 1. Blue, size M-L. $125

SOLD 2. Blue, size L-XL.$135

Shown with Rosario’s shoulder bag.

#3 Purple, size M-L. $125

SOLD. 4 Purple, size L-XL. $135

#5 Purple, size L-XL. $135

SOLD. #6. Red. Size M-L. $125

SOLD. 7. Red. Size L-XL. $135

Bag Details:

Each bag is about 10” wide x 9” high and has a 44” strap that easily works as a cross-body bag.

#8. $50
#9. $50

#10. $35

#11. $50
#12. $35
#13. $50
#15. $50
#16. $50.
17. $50

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.

Collector’s Textile Sale Preview

SOLD. #1. Pinotepa de Do. Luis, Oaxaca coast. Índigo and snail Dye Blusa, backstrap loom, size Medium-Large, $250

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, eating for healthfully (gluten and lactose free. Most of the Oaxaca and Chiapas made clothes from my beautiful collection do not fit! I’ve gone from size large or medium to small/extra small.

In the weeks to come, I will be posting these for sale. Buy them now and I will bring them back to the US and mail them to you when I return on November 15 — just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I’m posting a preview of some of these here today. There are many more. So, please look for future postings!

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. I’ll be mailing from Taos, NM when I return.

Many thanks,

Norma

#2. Size Large. Pinotepa de Don Luis Dreamweavers huipil with natural cotton and snail dye caracol púrpura. Backstrap loom. $195.
#3. Quechquemitl poncho from San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. Backstrap loom. One size fits most. $68.
SOLD. #4. Blouse from San Andres Larrainzar, Chiapas, backstrap loomed. Size large. Later over long-sleeve T for cooler weather. $75.
#5. Blusa from Magdalena Aldama, Chiapas. Backstrap loomed bodice. Commercial base fabric. Size Medium. $85.
SOLD. #6. Gorgeous, festive embroidered blouse from Chiapas. Lacy base fabric. Intricate detail. Size M-L. $85.
#7. Quechquemitl-poncho. Cotton with embroidered detail. Backstrap loomed. One size fits most. $25.
#8. From Tlahuitoltepec, Oaxaca, designer linen lo g sleeve blouse with machine embroidery. Longer panel in back to cover tush. Size Medium. $95.

More to come in the next days. Thanks for considering!