Schedule a 4-day tapestry weaving workshop with Oaxaca Cultural Navigator during your Oaxaca vacation. You do not need experience to take part. The per person price is the same whether you take a private workshop or there is a group of up to four people. We welcome people who want to come and learn with a master weaver who has worked the craft for over 40 years.
All levels are accepted — beginners with little or no experience, intermediate and advanced weavers.
The Oaxaca Weaving Workshops: Dancing on the Loom is held in the famous rug weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle, which is about 40-minutes outside the city of Oaxaca in the Tlacolula Valley.
Here is what we offer:
Weaving Workshop: Intensive beginner to intermediate level 4-day workshop is $585 USD per person. This includes all wool and 5 hours of supervised instruction daily, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At the end of the workshop you will have completed a tapestry sampler about the size of a pillow cover or small wall-hanging, 18″ x 24″. If you choose to bring and execute your own design, it should be simple enough to complete in this 4-day time frame.
You will work with wool that is dyed with all natural materials, including indigo, cochineal, wild marigold, nuts and other plant materials. This is a sustainable process and you will see how natural dyes are prepared, too. If you wish, you may purchase naturally dyed yarns to take home with you.
Note: The workshop fee does not include transportation, lodging or meals. We will refer you to local families who operate posadas and B&Bs out of their homes here in the village. You will make and pay for your own lodging arrangements, that cost from $25-45 USD per night. Meals are about $6 USD for breakfast and $10 USD for lunch/dinner.
Reservations and Cancellations
To reserve your weaving workshop for the dates you choose, please contact us.
We require a 50% deposit to secure your reservation. The balance is due 30 days before your workshop date. If cancellation is necessary, please notify us in writing by email at least 30 days before the workshop start date to receive a 50% refund of your deposit. After that, refunds are not possible.
Oaxaca Cultural Navigator can arrange and schedule intensive tapestry weaving workshops and independent studio time that fits into your travel schedule. You learn from the Chavez Santiago family weavers in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico, with private or semi-private sessions.
We are happy to offer you this opportunity to come to Teotitlan del Valle to learn from one of the most accomplished master weavers of the village. The workshop can be scheduled as a private experience to suit your schedule. Studio residencies are flexible and can be scheduled for as long as you wish to stay — one day, several days or several months. This includes independent time at your own dedicated loom to work on your own projects.
Here is what we can offer you:
Weaving Workshop: Intensive beginner to intermediate level 4-day workshop at $585 USD per person. This includes all wool and 4-6 hours of instruction daily. At the end of the workshop you will have completed a tapestry sampler about the size of a pillow cover or small wall-hanging. You will make your own lodging, food and transportation arrangements. Note: Weaving workshop may overlap with other participants.
Studio Time: Up to six-hours a day of studio time in the workshop at a dedicated loom. The cost is $100 a day. This includes naturally dyed wool, plus coaching and instruction to weave more complex designs. Note: Studio time may overlap with other participants.
Long-Term Residencies: If you would like to stay longer than one-week, contact us for special pricing.
Materials/Yarn for Purchase: You may purchase additional naturally dyed locally sourced, hand-spun churro wool directly from the family. The cost is $20 USD for 100 grams or 260 pesos for 100 grams.
You can bypass the Intensive 5-day Weaving Workshop and go directly to studio time IF you are an experienced tapestry weaver or IF you have taken the beginner-intermediate workshop from the family at another time.
If you are interested in making these arrangements, please contact Norma Hawthorne at Oaxaca Cultural Navigator. We can set up the studio residency for as many days or weeks as you wish. You would make all payments to reserve the workshop and studio arrangements with Oaxaca Cultural Navigator. We will send you a PayPal invoice for 1/2 the total cost with the remaining amount due 45 days before the workshop/residency begins. You would need to specify the dates you prefer for the workshop and/or when you want the residency.
Bill has organized the experience so that participants can identify a theme on which to concentrate. You can choose to focus on food, religious icons, housing, cemeteries, local artisans, family life, music, farming and agriculture, or whatever suits you. By the end of the workshop, we will have collectively created a range of personal portfolios that reflect the diversity of life in the region.
Our daily workshop sessions will be a mix of presentations and technical demonstrations. We will look at the examples of select regional photographers or those whose documentary style will help us expand our vision. You have the option to bring a sample portfolio to share at the start of the workshop and show what you’ve captured throughout the week. The program will culminate with a final celebration and group show.
We expect that photographic experience will vary widely from participant to participant and we welcome all levels — from beginners to more experienced — who want to come with us on this remarkable learning adventure.
You can choose however deeply you would like to participate in the workshop. If your principal goal is to have fun and enjoy the journey, we will work with each of you according to your interests and needs.
Saturday, October 29 — Gather and check in at our Oaxaca city hotel.
Sunday, October 30 — After breakfast and a brief orientation, we’ll explore the city. Later that afternoon, we will gather to talk about your photography experience and present the portfolio you brought with you to share. Presentation: Bill Bamberger will share photographs from Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory and Boys Will Be Men. He will talk about photographing in communities away from home.
Q and A: A brief question and answer period about technical concerns and or logistical questions about photographing in Oaxaca.
Monday, October 31 — morning discussion and photography review. Presentation:Revealing Mexico, Photographs by John Mack (Powerhouse Books, 2010) Gertrud Blom: Bearing Witness (UNC Press, 1985) Discussion: Photographing at the Day of the Dead: approach and technical considerations. At 2:30 p.m. we will meet at our hotel to travel together to the famed Xoxocotlan cemetery for an afternoon and night-time shoot.
Tuesday, November 1 — After a leisurely morning, travel by van to Teotitlan del Valle and check-in to bed and breakfast. After lunch, visit Federico Chavez Santiago Family Weavers. Rest of the day on your own to wander and shoot before dinner.
Wednesday, November 2 — After breakfast Discussion: Talk through project ideas for photographing in Teotitlan. Discuss issues related to working with hosts and photographing in the homes of local families. Brief discussion about using natural light and/or flash. Q and A: Question and answer session about photographing in the community and at the Teotitlan cemetery with host families.
Thursday, November 3 — After breakfast, Discussion: Experiences photographing in Teotitlan. Presentation: As a group, edit and sequence the work of one or two participants. Brief demonstration using Adobe Lightroom and/or Photoshop to edit images. Assignment: Prepare a final portfolio of about 10-20 images to share with the class at the evening session. Bill will be available during the day for optional individual meetings to help edit your work. 7 pm. Evening Presentations: Final projects or portfolios shared with class. Discussion about ways we might share our projects with the host families and the larger community of Teotitlan. We may want to invite our host families to a viewing of the final projects (we can discuss and decide this earlier in the week).
*We will organize photographs as jpegs, numbered sequentially, and loaded on a memory stick or external drive. We will project digital images via Bill’s MacBook Pro. Please contact Bill in advance if you would prefer to show images on your laptop.
What you bring to photograph with is a personal choice and, in great part, dependent on your way of working. Some of the most accomplished photographers work with a single lens using the uniformity of the fixed focal length to unify their approach, while others select a variety of lenses allowing them the option of shooting tight to focus on details or loose to capture a wide-angle scene. This equipment checklist is a suggested starting place. What you bring is ultimately up to you. Your budget and your choice about how much gear you will want to carry will also influence your choice of gear. Sometimes less is more.
Suggested photo equipment:
Lenses, bring the lens(es) you with which you are most comfortable working. Some of you will bring a single lens (fixed focal length or zoom) while others will bring a variety of lenses (wide angle and telephoto).
Memory cards, at least two, 2 GB or larger
DSLR batteries (two)
Tripod, for shooting at night
Cable release (allows you to use slow shutter speeds on the tripod)
Laptop or system for downloading and previewing images
Flash drive or portable external hard drive for backing up images
Software loaded on laptop (optional): Adobe Photoshop CS4, Adobe Bridge CS4 (or similar for editing images), Adobe Lightroom for processing RAW files
Extra DSLR camera body (optional, but it is nice to have an extra camera body when traveling).
If you have questions about the optional equipment, please contact Bill or Norma. We will have some personal items, like tripods, available to share and experiment with.
**Let Bill know if you plan to bring a film camera or something other than a DSLR. He tends to travel with my DSLR and a medium format film camera.
Sam and Tom Robbins, wife and husband art photographer team from Columbus, Ohio, are set to lead June 29-July 5 photo expedition in Oaxaca, Mexico. They were just featured in a Columbus, Ohio area newspaper. Read more in This Week … Continue reading →
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
Norma contributes personal essay, How Oaxaca Became Home
Norma Contributes Two Chapters!
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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
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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
Dye Master Dolores Santiago Arrellanas with son Omar Chavez Santiago, weaver and dyer, Fey y Lola Rugs, Teotitlan del Valle