Tag Archives: silk

Rare Opportunity, Day Trips, July 27 + July 29: San Pedro Cajonos and Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec

We are doing a cultural textile tour from July 25-31, 2022 where extraordinary garments are made by very talented weavers. This includes two days up into the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains. We want to fill our van! So, we are offering one-day travel opportunities to Oaxaca residents, collectors and visitors. Join our travel group for one or both days! We have space for 4 more travelers on each day.

Day 1–July 27: San Pedro Cajonos Silk Weaving Village

On July 27 we depart Teotitlan del Valle at 8 a.m. for a two and-a-half hour luxury van ride up the mountain to San Pedro Cajonos. If you haven’t been there, this is your opportunity! We visit one of the finest, most distinguished silk weaving cooperatives in all of Mexico. Here, high in the Sierra Madre del Sur, Moises Martinez and his group created a sanctuary to cultivate and preserve silkworm production, with hand-spinning, natural dyeing and weaving. Yes! They grow the mulberry trees to feed the silkworms before they spin their cocoons. The cocoons are silk! You will see the entire process — growing, spinning, dyeing and weaving — and meet these talented weavers. They will prepare a homemade lunch for us and show us their silk textiles and accessories that are for sale. Garments include blouses, dresses, shawls, scarves and jewelry. We return to Teotitlan del Valle before suppertime.

Day 2–July 29: Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec

On July 29, we depart Teotitlan del Valle at 8 a.m. to travel two hours on our luxury van to the mountain village of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec. Many of you may have heard of the village when several years ago a French designer appropriated the cultural heritage design of the blouses that are made here and marketed them as her own. Here you will meet weavers and embroiderers who work on the back-strap and pedal looms in wool and cotton. They use locally dyed alderwood tree bark called Palo de Aguila in Spanish to yield soft, creamy brown, beige and orange colors that are distinctive and beautiful. We will discuss with the family the issues of cultural appropriation and copyright, and what we as buyers can do to support their cultural patrimony. They also use banana tree bark, indigo, cochineal and wild marigold to dye the threads before weaving. After lunch, we will visit a large format potter famous for his amazing pieces featured in museums and private collections around the world. We return to Teotitlan del Valle before suppertime.

Cost: $395 each day. Or, register for both days at $735. Cost includes luxury transportation originating from and returning to Teotitlan del Valle, lunch, snacks and water, cultural commentary and textile expertise, bilingual English-Spanish translation services with a native Spanish speaker, and an adventure into remote mountain villages that you may never be able to do on your own.

Send us an email to register. Payment can be made in full with a Zelle transfer (no service fee) or with PayPal or Venmo (with a 3% service fee). Let us know which payment method you prefer.

Your knowledgeable guides are Eric Chavez Santiago, co-director and Norma Schafer, founder and co-director of Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.

Eric is an expert in Oaxaca and Mexico textiles and folk art with a special interest in artisan development and promotion. He is a weaver and natural dyer by training and a fourth generation member of the Fe y Lola textile group. He and his wife Elsa are founders of Taller Teñido a Mano dye studio where they produce naturally dyed yarn skeins and textiles for worldwide distribution. He is trilingual, speaking Zapotec, Spanish and English and is a native of Teotitlan del Valle. He is a graduate of Anahuac University, founder of the Museo Textil de Oaxaca education department, and former managing director of folk art gallery Andares del Arte Popular. He has intimate knowledge of local traditions, culture and community.

Norma founded Oaxaca Cultural Navigator in 2006 while she was a senior staff administrator at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since then, hundreds of people have traveled with Norma to experience the art, culture and textiles of Oaxaca, Chiapas and other parts of Mexico. About 65% of all participants return to take workshops, day tours and extended travel programs, an indication of client loyalty and satisfaction.

Note: To travel with us, you must be Covid vaccinated. Everyone over age 50 is required to have two boosters. Please send us a copy of your vaccine card upon registration. In addition, N95 and KN95 face masks are required for all indoor activities. We observe US CDC guidelines regarding same. We do this out of respect for each other and for native peoples who have not had access to the quality of vaccines that we enjoy. We will ventilate the van and most of our activities will take place outdoors.

We also strongly recommend for these two day tours that you have travel insurance for accident protection.

Travel to/from Teotitlan del Valle is on your own. Please make your own arrangements to arrive by the departing time. When you register, we will send details of where to meet and recommendations for Teotitlan taxi drivers who can pick you up in the city and return you there at the end of our day.

Thank you very much! Let us know if you have any questions.

Let’s Go Shopping: Eleven Mexican Shawls, Scarves, Rebozos for Sale

Rebozos are part of Mexican female identity and culture. Frida wore them. So did the women of the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920. Aristocrats from Spain loved their shoulder coverings as they strolled the Alameda. Indigenous women still rely on them to swaddle and carry infants. Women in El Norte (USA and Canada) find them comforting on a chilly fall evening or to adorn a favorite outfit.

These rebozos I am offering for sale today are part of my collection. They are new and never worn. Most are from Tenancingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico, where the men weave ikat cotton and women hand-knot elaborate fringes. I have one piece from Zinacantan, Chiapas, two from Santa Maria del Rio, San Luis Potosi, and one from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca.

How to Buy: Send me an email and identify which one you want by NUMBER, plus your mailing address. I will then send you a PayPal invoice that will include mailing costs.  I will mail on the next business day.

Style 1: Zinacantan Chal, machine embroidered on back strap loomed cloth, 45″ x 20-1/2″, with handmade tassels.  Zinacantan is a village outside of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas. Floral motifs are predominant here. $120 USD plus shipping.

P.S. I have two spaces open for the February textile study tour to Chiapas. Email me if you are interested and I’ll send you the program description.

Style 1: Zinacantan Chal, $120

Style 1. Zinacantan Chal detail.

Style 2: SOLD. Large Navy Blue Ikat Rebozo, $175, hand-woven in Tenancingo on a flying shuttle loom with hand-knotted fringe. This large shawl measures 92″ long (including an 11″ hand-knotted fringe) and 29″ wide.

Style 2: Navy Blue Rebozo, $175

Style 2: Navy Blue Ikat Rebozo, detail

Style 3: SOLD. Multi-Rebozo with Blue, Red and Yellow, $175. This is what is known as Grande, 92″ long (including 11″ fringe) and 29″ wide. It is a very fine ikat cotton. Hand-woven in Tenancingo with a hand-knotted fringe.

Style 3, Red, Blue, Yellow Rebozo, extra large, $175

Style 3: Blue, Red, Yellow Rebozo

Style 4: SOLD. This striking contrast of rose and black together with a hand-knotted fringe that says Remember Me gives this very fine quality rebozo a subtle, yet powerfully contrasting design. $125. Size Medium. 88″ long (including a 12″ fringe) and 27″ wide.

Style 4: Rose and Black rebozo, Medium Size, $125 — Recuerdame

Style 4: Recuerdame detail

Style 5: SOLD. Chakira Chalina, $150. Rare, pale blue/gray shawl in plain weave, with intricate fringe that is knotted with beadwork.  Each bead in the fringe is part of the hand-knotting process.  A dying art form! Size medium, measures 82″ long (incuding 11″ fringe) and 29″ wide. Made in Tenancingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico.

Style 5: Chakira Chalina, $150

Style 5: Chakira Chalina, fringe detail

Style 6: Black and Red Ikat Scarf. $95. This is loomed in Santa Maria del Rio, San Luis Potosi, and woven of rayon, which the locals call seda or silk, because it has a smooth, shiny, silky finish. The scarf measures 90″ long (including an 8″ fringe) and 13-3/4″ wide.

Style 6, Red/Black Ikat Scarf, $95

Style 6: Red/Black Ikat Scarf, detail

Style 7: SOLD. Small Black/Brown Ikat Scarf, $35. Measures 50″ long (including 5″ fringe) by 18-3/4″ wide. A nice addition to keep your neck warm as the weather chills.

Style 7: Black/Brown Ikat Scarf, $35

Style 7: Black/Brown Ikat Scarf, detail

Style 8: SOLD. Indigo-dyed Scarf, $115, by Juan Carlos from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. Juan Carlos is my neighbor and his work is exceptionally fine. This is a deep, rich blue, all natural with hand-spun wool. 72″ long (including 4″ fringe) by 14″ wide. The fringe is hand-knotted by his wife.

Style 8: Indigo dyed wool scarf, $115

Style 8: Indigo Scarf, detail

Style 9: SOLD. Super Grande Rebozo, $150. This is made in Santa Maria del Rio, San Luis Potosi, handwoven rayon that the locals call seda (or silk) because of its smooth, silky hand. Color is predominantly dark blue and lime green. Measures 114″ long (with huge 20″ hand-knotted fringe) by 30″ wide. A stunner.

Style 9: Super Grande Shawl, $150

Style 9: Fringe detail

Style 10: SOLD. This Rose Chalina shawl, $125,  is made from the highest quality cotton and has a very fine hand. The fabric is soft and glows. The intricate fringe is all hand-knotted. It’s called a Chalina because it is a plain weave with no pattern. It measures 90″ long (including a 12″ fringe) by 28″ wide. Made in Tenancingo.

Style 10: Rose Chalina, Super Fine and Large, $125

Style 10: Rose Chalina detail

Style 11: SOLD. Black with Coral Accents Ikat Rebozo, $110, size medium, measures 78″ long (including 9″ fringe) by 28″ wide. A graphic masterpiece. Made in Tenanciingo de Degollado, Estado de Mexico on a flying shuttle loom.

Style 11: Black Ikat with Coral Accents, $110

Style 11: Black Ikat Shawl detail

India Journal: Double Silk Ikat of Patan Patola, Gujarat

It’s two-and-a-half hours from Ahmedabad to the town of Patola in the Patan district of Gujarat. Only four ikat weavers continue to make the double it — both the warp and weft threads are knotted then dyed to form intricate patterns of birds, flowers, elephants, dancers, monkeys and trees on silk.

300 year old Salvi family silk Patola it, Gujarat, India

300 year old Salvi family silk Patola, Patan, Gujarat, India

The double it refers to the fact that both sides of the fabric are identical. There is no reverse or back side. How do they do it?

Ikat weaving in process, Salvi family workshop

Ikat weaving on the loom, Salvi family workshop

Our guide at the Calico Museum, where a dazzling collection of Patolas (as these ikats are called) is displayed, says these weavers are like gods. The masters come from the Salvi family.

Rohit Salvi, master Patola double ikat silk weaver, entrance to old village workshop

It was my mission on this trip to make a pilgrimage to their studio workshop. Australian friend and Gujarat expert, Carole Douglas, told me to be sure to ask to go their home.

7th generation weaver, Rahul Salvi

7th generation Patola weaver, Rahul Vinayak Salvi

Traditional Gujarati brides will wear a Patola for their wedding. A complete silk sari will take three years to make and cost about $20,000 USD, millions of rupees. These are by special order. A small handkerchief size is a mere $200 USD, suitable for framing! None available for purchase.

Salvi dye studio, where concrete tubs are used to wash silk

Salvi dye studio, where concrete tubs are used to wash silk

As I entered the new showroom and demonstration area in the center of Patola Patan Weavers, Rahul Vinayak Salvi and his uncle Bharat Kantilal Salvi greeted me. Rahul explained that he is the youngest of three brothers. His two elder brothers are doctors and he studied architecture. He decided the art would not survive unless he learned to weave, so he left the profession and is now becoming an accomplished weaver and dyer, working alongside his cousin.

Patola double ikat on the loom, with indigo and cochineal natural dyed silk

Patola double ikat on the loom, with indigo and cochineal natural dyed silk

The family works in natural dyes: indigo, cochineal (which they buy from the USA at a cost of $300 USD per kilogram), pomegranate and madder. The raw silk comes from China, which they buy wholesale in Bangalore.

Graph paper is used to plot out the design, just like Mexican weaving

Graph paper is used to plot out the design, just like Mexican weaving

First, each strand of silk is spun, then eight strands are spun together to make an 8-ply thread. It’s then washed then soaked in rice water. After drying the strands are stiff enough to tie for dyeing. Rice water is used in this part of the world for ikat making. In Mexico, we use atole or corn starch to stiffen the cotton threads.

Detail, tied silk threads, ready for next dye bath

Detail, tied silk threads, ready for next dye bath

As I understand it, the Salvi family came to Patan from Maharashtra.  In 1960, Gujarat split off from Maharashtra to become a separate state. This double ikat silk weaving technique is unique to Gujarat and is found no other place in the world.

Patola ikat in natural dyes of indigo and cochineal on the loom

Patola ikat in natural dyes of indigo and cochineal on the loom

At the Salvi showroom, there is a small museum that displays examples of ikat from around the world: Japan, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand and Africa.

Weft threads dyed with ikat (tie-dye) technique

Weft threads dyed with ikat (tie-dye) technique

Missing is an ikat example from Tenancingo de Degollado, State of Mexico. I promised to send them a Mexican ikat shawl to add to their collection, along with a Oaxaca contact where they can source cochineal to buy directly.

Can you see the bird and dancer in the warp threads?

Can you see the bird, elephant and dancer in the warp threads?

I am in awe of the skill and mathematical artistry required to create these masterpieces. The family creates about three or four sari’s per year, made on what looks like a back strap loom, though wider. Yet it is operated like a seated pedal loom, with the sheds opened by a traditional wood shaft.

Loom and warp threads, an abstraction.

Loom and warp threads, an abstraction.

 

 

 

 

 

Textile Felt Fashion Designer Teaches Oaxaca Workshop

Maddalena Forcella is an Italian fashion designer who has lived in Mexico most of her adult life. She works in felt and creates beautiful, comfortable clothing that is Art-to-Wear. In the workshop we create the felted nuno cloth and then design garments using indigenous Mexican textile patterns including the quechequemitl, huipil, rebozo and blusa. You can adapt these to your own fit and style!  When? Felt Fashion Workshop, January in Oaxaca, where the sun still shines in winter.  See Maddalena’s work at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca.

FeltPosterFinal

Art of the Rebozo: Painting on Silk Oaxaca Style with Costume Designer Hilary Simon

Oaxaca is the ideal location for this 8-night, 9-day silk painting workshop led by London, U.K. costume designer, artist and curator Hilary Simon from March 22-30, 2013.  Hilary will curate a London and Mexico exhibition on the rebozo in 2014, and we are fortunate to bring her to Oaxaca to give you this incredible experience to create a hand-painted silk rebozo based on Oaxaca motifs.

Inspiration for design is everywhere within the indigenous culture here and there is no shortage of topics to draw from: stunning scenery, food, flowers, textiles, archaeology and art.  Plus, this is Semana Santa Week, a perfect time for visual inspiration. During our time together, we will visit museums, markets and artisans to capture visual images that will become subjects for your rebozo.  If you have your own idea for a design, bring it! We’ll help you translate it to silk.

Silk painting is suitable for all levels, from total beginner to professional artists.  It is easy to grasp and execute.  Each participant will have a unique style that emerges in the class and this is a very enjoyable experience with exciting results.

We will use the French technique of gutta-serti on habutai silk.  The designs are outlined with gutta or water-based resists, which are applied to natural off-white silk that has been pre-washed, dried and stretched (on a stretcher).

The result will be a beautiful silk rebozo of your own creation                                   that measures at least 72″ long  x 24″ wide!

Hilary will demonstrate each step and walk you through the process.  First, we will practice on a small sampler before starting on the larger piece of silk that will become the rebozo.  This sampler can be made later into pillows and beautiful accessories.  You will see how the dyes react to the gutta and the fascinating effects that result.  Next, you will prepare a design to apply directly onto the silk with a soft pencil or paper stencil.  We will spend time exploring ideas and motifs, with sketches and photographs to stimulate your creativity.  You will also learn how to mix and dilute the dyes to expand the color palette.  The combinations are endless and the colors are rich and vibrant.

We will use Special Effects that include fine and coarse salt to give a mottled effect, alcohol to soften the dye intensity, and outliners to highlight designs at the final stages that yield iridescent, glittery, and metallic colors.  A Faux batik effect is achieved using hot wax that gives a crackle effect to the design.

Preliminary Daily Itinerary: This is Semana Santa Week in Oaxaca, an extraordinary time for visual inspiration.

Friday, March 22, Day 1:  Arrive and check in to your Oaxaca hotel.  If you arrive early enough, join us for a for a no-host dinner.  Overnight in Oaxaca city.

Saturday, March 23, Day 2:  Orientation and Exploration: After breakfast, we will explore Oaxaca on foot with sketchbook in-hand, visit galleries and museums, and soak in the Colonial architecture of this incredible city. Depart Oaxaca in late afternoon.  Check in to Teotitlan del Valle bed and breakfast.  (B, L, D)

Sunday, March 24, Day 3:  Talk and demonstration.  After exploring the famous regional tianguis (market) in Tlacolula in the morning, we gather in the afternoon to make the pipette to apply the gutta gum, practice on a piece of prepared stretched silk, learn how to control the gutta line which is the grounding for the development of the creative piece, then apply the dyes. (B, L, D)

Monday, March 25, Day 4:  Painting Demonstration.  Learn about the dyes and various dye application techniques: adding water alcohol, salts, painting wet on wet or wet on dry surfaces, layering.  Student work at their own pace, spending time on their personal interests.  Take a break to participate in the Lunes Monday processions. Don’t forget your sketchbook. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle for the rest of the week. (B, L, D)

Tuesday, March 26, Day 5:   Faux Batik  Demonstration as a final application. Bringing all the techniques together, Day 5 is the time to play with all that you have learned.  Prepare to begin your major piece. Ideas and sketching for the Rebozo. (B, D)

Wednesday-Friday, March 27-29, Day 6/7/8:  During this time, Hilary is available to help students with ideas and developments.  She will demonstrate and coach each person individually to express her/himself fully through their design.  It takes time to carefully prepare for the finished piece and we know that participants will each work at a different pace. For those who are speedier, more silk can be painted!  We’ll take a break to join villagers for Maundy Thursday processions.  Good Friday evening reception and Rebozo Exhibition.  Local guests are invited. (B, D)

Saturday, March 30, Day 9: Depart after breakfast.

What is Included:

  • 21 hours of instruction
  • Unlimited coaching
  • Open studio workshop time
  • All lodging
  • 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Guided visits as indicated in the itinerary
  • Transportation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Silk to practice on and for your long rebozo
  • All dyes, gutta-serti, and wood frames

What to Bring:

  • Your own watercolor brushes (we’ll send specifications)
  • A sketchbook and drawing pencil
  • Your inquisitiveness and enthusiasm
Meet Your Workshop Leader: Hilary Simon — Costume Designer, Artist, Curator.  Hilary is currently working on a textile exhibition of the Mexican Rebozo.  It will open in London at The Fashion and Textile Museum on February 2014.  In July 2014, the exhibition will travel to The Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City and then in December open at The Textile Museum in Oaxaca, Mexico.  It will have work from the Robert Everts collection, contemporary Mexican and British textile designers, fashion designers and artists, pieces from private collections, and much more.
From 1993 to 2009, Hilary was Head of the Costume Department at GMTV Breakfast Television.  In addition, she worked on film television drama, light entertainment and the theatre as a freelance costume designer.
A specialist in silk painting, she offers workshops worldwide at The Eden Project in Cornwall, England, Wildfiber in Los Angeles, and Artguat in Guatemala.   Her work has been produced on greeting cards giftwrap, books and book covers. Her images can be seen on the Bridgeman Art Library website.Lodging/Accommodations and Cost.  To keep this program affordable, we have selected a lovely B&B in Oaxaca City and a clean and basic B&B posada in Teotitlan del Valle, where most of our workshop is held.  Local meals are prepared by excellent cooks from organic ingredients made from scratch. Vegetarian options are available.

Base Cost: $1,595 per person double occupancy with shared bath facilities. Single rooms with private bath are available with a $300 single supplement.  Please tell us your preference below.  Use the Registration Form.

[ ] Option 1: I will share a room, double occupancy with shared bath, $1,595 per person.

[ ] Option 2: I prefer a single room with private bath for a total of $1,895 per person.

[ ] Option A: One-hour massage scheduled during open times in the weekly schedule. Add: $50.

Most travel workshops of this type and length cost more than twice as much! The workshop does NOT include airfare, taxes, tips/gratuities, travel insurance, liquor or alcoholic beverages, some meals, and local transportation to and from Oaxaca city.  We will arrange taxi pick-up and return from/to the Oaxaca airport at your own expense.

Reservations and Cancellations.   A 50% deposit based on your preferred options is required to guarantee your spot. The final payment for the balance due (including any additional costs) shall be paid by January 15, 2013. Payment is requested or PayPal. We will  send you an itemized invoice when you tell us you are ready to register.

We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation, baggage, emergency evacuation and medical insurance before you begin your trip, since unforeseen circumstances are possible.

To get your questions answered and to register, contact: normahawthorne@mac.com  Since we are in Oaxaca most of the year, we are happy to arrange a Skype conversation with you if you wish.

This retreat is produced by Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We reserve the right to make itinerary changes and substitutions as necessary.