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Norma Writes for Selvedge Magazine Issues #89 + #109
Creating Connection and Meaning between travelers and with indigenous artisans. Meet makers where they live and work. Join small groups of like-minded explorers. Go deep into remote villages. Gain insights. Support cultural heritage and sustainable traditions ie. hand weaving and natural dyeing. Create value and memories. Enjoy hands-on experiences. Make a difference.
What is a Study Tour: Our programs are designed as learning experiences, and as such we talk with makers about how and why they create, what is meaningful to them in their designs, the ancient history of patterning and design, use of color, tradition and innovation, values and cultural continuity, and the social context within which they work. First and foremost, we are educators. Norma worked in top US universities for over 35 years and Eric founded the education department at Oaxaca’s textile museum. We create connection and help artisans reach people who value them and their work.
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
We Contribute Two Chapters!
Meet Makers. Make a DifferenceOaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC has offered programs in Mexico since 2006. We have over 30 years of university, textile and artisan development experience. See About Us.
Programs can be scheduled to meet your independent travel plans. Send us your available dates.
Designers, retailers, wholesalers, curators, universities and others come to us to develop artisan relationships, customized itineraries, study abroad programs, meetings and conferences. It's our pleasure to make arrangements.
Select Clients *Abeja Boutique, Houston *Selvedge Magazine-London, UK *Esprit Travel and Tours *Penland School of Crafts *North Carolina State University *WARP Weave a Real Peace *Methodist University *MINNA-Goods *Smockingbird Kids *MINNA *University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tell us how we can put a program together for you! Send an email email@example.com
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- NY Times, 36-Hours: Oaxaca, Mexico
- Cooking Classes–El Sabor Zapoteco
- Currency Converter
- Fe y Lola Rugs by Chavez Santiago Family
- Friends of Oaxaca Folk Art
- Hoofing It In Oaxaca Hikes
- Living Textiles of Mexico
- Mexican Indigenous Textiles Project
- Museo Textil de Oaxaca
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- Oaxaca Weather
- Taller Teñido a Mano Natural Dyes
Flores y Cantos Mixed Media Art Exhibition at Museo Rufino Tamayo
The opening was last night. The food was amazing. The exhibition ethereal and dramatic. The premise: in the language of the Aztecs, Nahuatl, when the two glyphs flower and song are joined, the new meaning is art and poetry. This concept was essential to the Aztec worldview, according to exhibition creator Carolyn Kallenborn, professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
And what do I take with me when I go?
Will I leave nothing here of me on this earth?
Do we only rise up and grow to then die in the ground?
At least let us leave flowers.
At least let us leave song.
—Nezahualcoyotl, Aztec Poet
Flores y Cantos invites you to lose yourself in a surreal world of past and future, light, shadow and projected imagery of the ever-present and on-going cycles of nature. As you step into and move throughout the space, you add your own shadow and become immersed in the thoughts of life’s meaning and what is left behind by those who came before you. The artist asks, What will you leave behind?
Tree of life embroidery by Miriam Campos, San Antonino Castillo Velasco
For me, that leads to the ultimate and essential question, What is the meaning of life?
Tito Mendoza’s tapestry illuminated by a visual lake, you are on the beach
The exhibition has as its backdrop the pre-Columbian ceramic figures collected by Oaxaca artist Rufino Tamayo. While the individuals who created these sacred pieces, often deities that also refer to animals, plants, people and customs, are unnamed, we consider their legacy and that of their culture. They who believed in the eternal and the life cycle of birth, death and back again.
Enter into this other-worldly space, reflections
I sit on shallow steps, examining the tapestry of indigenous maize woven by textile artist Erasto “Tito” Mendoza, appreciating the fine embroidery stitches of a tree of life by Miriam Campos, I watch the movement of light, color, sky, water, nature projected. Sound conveys birdsong, waves, thunder-clap, peace, and I am immersed in another world, or is it my own, here and now?
Food for thought
At the buffet table, a visual feast
Carolyn asks us: Think about the following questions —
In the frenzy of Guelaguetza, the Oaxaca event that attracts thousands to the city, this is a respite that offers calm and consideration.
Carolyn, Miriam and Tito joined by family and friends
I am grateful to be writing about this after the almost two-hour trip from the city back to Teotitlan last night. The city celebration brings much-needed tourism and also Los Angeles-style gridlock. I’m going to be here on the hammock for a while as I think about what Carolyn asks me to re-examine.
Nicuatole pre-Hispanic corn pudding with Teotitlan mole negro tamales
Is life a blur or is there a kernel of meaning in this picture?
Feet up, swinging in the hammock, a meditation on blue skies
Posted in Cultural Commentary, Oaxaca Mexico art and culture
Tagged art, art exhibition, Carolyn Kallenborn, Nezahualcoyotl, Oaxaca, poetry, Rufino Tamayo Museum