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Mexican Anthropologist Marta Turok to Give Keynote at WARP Textile Conference

Marta Turok, the noted Mexican applied anthropologist and specialist in folk art and textiles, will give the keynote address at the WARP (Weaving a Real Peace) International Conference in Oaxaca, on Saturday, June 9, 2017.

I’ve been working with WARP and program chair Judy Newland for the better part of a year to help organize the conference. Marta just wrote this morning to summarize the remarks she will make.

Textiles from the village of Cancuc, Chiapas

“My talk will focus on how I learned that a project requires a methodology. It begins with a good assessment (diagnostic) in order to draw a master plan.  There are many imponderables as the project continues and one has to be constantly evaluating to see how to make adjustments.  

This diagnostic includes understanding the role of crafts production and marketing in the community/region, the number of craftspeople/families involved, the capacities that exist and those that need to be developed, how raw materials are acquired and distributed, what the means of production are, what markets one wants to target.   

The approach should be integral, analyzing the environmental, cultural and socio-economic issues surrounding the community and the group.  The clearer the goals, the more investment in capacity building and decision-making, the better chance the group will be able to appropriate the process.”

Applied anthropologist Marta Turok to speak in Oaxaca

Click Here to see the complete program and to register. It’s not too late!

Other conference speakers include Alfredo Harp Helu Foundation representative Lorena de la Piedra, Zapotec weaver Porfirio Gutierrez, designer and natual dye expert Rocio Mena Gutierrez, University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty member Carolyn Kallenborn, social entrepreneur Ana Paula Fuentes, and founder of Chamuchic project Claudia Muñoz Morales.

There will be an expoventa (exhibition and sale) of folk art and textiles on June 9 in the ex-convento San Pablo patio presented by Andares Arte Popular.  On Saturday, June 10, conference-goers will travel to villages to meet textile artisans as part of their conference registration.

Here is the complete Program

Saturday, June 9, 2017

8:00 a.m. Breakfast

Morning Sessions –

9:30 Cindy Lair, WARP President – Welcome and Acknowledgments

9:45-10:30 Marta Turok, our keynote speaker from Mexico City, an applied anthropologist who focuses on socio-economic artisan development in Mexico; she is considered one of the foremost experts on Mexican Folk Art and will discuss her work and what it means for artisans in a global world market

10:30-11:15 Lorena De la Piedra will discuss the work of the Alfredo Harp Helu Foundation, it’s commitment to artisan development, bringing products to market and the natural dye culture of Oaxaca

11-30-12:15 Porfirio Gutierrez, Teotitlan del Valle master weaver, will present innovation and preservation in Zapotec Weaving – the evolution of design and the incorporation of innovative materials

LUNCH from 12:30 – 1:45pm

Afternoon sessions

2pm-3pm Panel Presentation followed by roundtables discussions with all attendees participating

Topic: Working with Indigenous Artisans to create fashion and design projects, bringing products to market, design influences, integrity of design, cultural impact, ethical issues and challenges.

  • Rocio Mena Gutierrez: WARP member and panel moderator, founder and designer of Zikuri Natural Dyes, Mexico City
  • Ana Paula Fuentes: consultant/textile designer currently working with Fabrica Social
  • Claudia Munoz Morales: textile designer, creator of the initiative Viernes Traditional, counselor for Impacto Textil and leads the Chamuchic group
  • Carolyn Kallenborn – Associate Faculty at University Wisconsin Madison has worked with textile artisans in Oaxaca since 2003, and produced/directed the film, “Woven Lives”

3:00–3:30 Attendees will select discussion questions prior to meeting and break into small groups with leaders to talk about issues/ideas facing textile artisans around the world, including attribution, copyright, and working with foreign designers

3:45 Scholarship winners 5 minute presentations

1:00–7:00 ExpoVenta – a marketplace of regional artisans at San Pablo Cultural Center

6:00–7:30       Reception with visits to Museo Textil de Oaxaca which is next door

Saturday, June 10, 2017

8:00 a.m. Breakfast – we will have the WARP Annual Meeting during our Saturday breakfast

9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Natural Dye Weaving and Textile Tour, includes van transportation, lunch and visits to artisan studios with demonstrations and discussion of the natural dye tradition in Oaxaca, Mexico. Participants will meet weavers of rugs, home goods, handbags and clothing in their home studios. Tour will make four stops. You will see weavers working on the flying shuttle loom and tapestry loom. See traditional carding, spinning and dyeing methods using cochineal, indigo and other local plant sources. We offer honoraria to artisan-demonstrators on your behalf. Tour provider is Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.


Oaxaca Portraits: Photography by Luvia Lazo Gutierrez

This Oaxaca Faces Portrait Photography Workshop with Matt Nager was much more than taking candid photos of people we might see on the street. We depended on Teotiteca Luvia Lazo Gutierrez, who assisted me at the last photo workshop, to help connect us with local families. She speaks Spanish, Zapotec and English, so Luvia could talk to elders in their native language, since so many only know a smattering of Español. An English teacher, Luvia hopes to go to graduate school in photography — maybe in the USA.

A talented photographer in her own right, Luvia’s portrait of her grandmother Candelaria is part of a Oaxaca exhibition at 411 Espacio Fotographia that opened on Saturday night. The show will be up for a month. The gallery is at Eduardo Vasconcelos #411, close to the baseball stadium.

Luvia Lazo Gutierrez, Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca 

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The portrait photography workshop gave us an intimate experience with local people who were so generous with their time. This cultural immersion offered an unparalleled, in-depth approach to photography. You can see the results for yourself! Thank you, Luvia!

If you want to join our next Day of the Dead photography workshop, let us know — send an email to Norma Hawthorne Shafer.

Oaxaca Portraits: Parade of the Baskets, Teotitlan del Valle 2011

Oaxaca festivals are more than colorful.  They are a sacred experience. Every year beginning on July 5 and lasting for a week, the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle celebrates its Catholic origins and saint day to honor the church–La Iglesia de Preciosa Sangre de Nuestro Senor Jesucristo.  The festival includes an opening celebratory parade — the Parade of the Baskets (Calenda de las Canastas), followed by the Dance of the Feather (Danza de la Pluma), special dinners, and a traveling carnival that overtakes the entire market area complete with rides and food stalls.

Framed by the baskets they will carry on their heads

Framed by the baskets they will carry on their heads

During the late afternoon on July 5 more than a hundred young women participated in with the Calenda de Preciosa Sangre de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo.  They first gather in groups of about 25-30 at the various homes of the members of the village governing committee.

Janet Chavez Santiago

Then, they travel by truck to the church where they assemble and form the parade line, accompanied by their family sponsors.

Gathering for the Calendula

I am fortunate to know the family members of Casa Santiago.  Our photography expedition group  had the privilege of being invited to the home of Pedro Santiago Mendez, the president of the church,  where the young women gathered and waited to be transported.  It was a delicious photo opportunity to capture the intimacy and mystery of the celebration through portraiture.

Wearing traditional dress

All the aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews gathered at the patron’s home to begin the celebration, prepare the celebratory meal to be taken at the end of the calenda, and offer traditional family support and camaraderie.

The young women who participate in make a commitment to the traditions of the village by wearing the indigenous dress and honoring their history.  A requirement is that they are unmarried.

Now, only the older generation wears the traditional dress in daily life, so preserving this through the calenda is an important Teotitlan del Valle value.

La senora de la casa with granddaughter

Mother and son

Our photography expeditions create an intimate experience.  See our Day of the Dead Photography Expedition that will offer a similar opportunity for access and exploration.

Guisado, celebratory stew on the comal--muy rico!