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 buy: mailto:email@example.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.
If you have a small wrist you are in luck. Most of these bracelets measure 7″ to 8″ long and will fit a small wrist that is 6″ (more or less) in circumference. Some are vintage, some are new-ish, some are collectible, all are in like-new condition. I want to sell these as I get ready to make my cross-country move, so if you are so inclined, I welcome any reasonable offer.
To Buy: Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please DO NOT SELECT buying goods or services — thank you! We also accept Venmo and Zelle, and I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal.
#15 Top Left. Sterling and Spiny Oyster Pendant, $25.
#16 Top Second from Left. Sterling + Jasper pin, $65
#17 Top Second from Right. Sterling and Jasper pin, $45
#18 Top Right. Elena Solow Design, Oaxaca, pin. $145
A word about these carved wood bangles from Mexico City designer Carla Fernandez: She works with the finest wood craftsman from the State of Mexico to create these pieces. If you notice, they are designs adapted from the parts of the molinillo, which is the wood whisk designed to froth hot chocolate. The moveable parts are what the bangle is made from. All carved by hand!
Happy New Year 2021. Over the years, living in Oaxaca, I have collected some outstanding pieces of jewelry. Some I purchased to support artisan-makers whose work I admired and respected. Some were never or rarely worn (isn’t that the definition of a collection?). Other pieces are featured here, too, that are from my travels to the American Southwest, Israel, Morocco and India. Some are made by American Crafts Council jewelry artist-innovators who showed at the Smithsonian and Baltimore Craft Shows. It’s time now for them to find new homes.
Today features all NECKLACES. Earrings and bracelets to come in another post.
I’m willing to entertain offers!
To Buy: Please email me email@example.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please DO NOT SELECT buying goods or services — so we don’t pay commissions. We also accept Venmo and I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal.
Most Jewish silversmiths from Yemen moved to Israel in the early 20th century. Their workmanship with filigree is considered unparalleled. This style is called an ornate bib-necklace. All hand-wrought.
. . . . and, the Kitchen Sink . . . oops, two beautiful pieces of French copper cookware — jewels in their own right!
I’m getting ready to return to Oaxaca next week with a stopover in Mexico City to lead the Art History Tour focusing on the work of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, plus the other noted early 20th century Mexican muralists. (Want to hop down? One space open!)
Before I leave the USA, I usually go through my collection to review what I want to part with. The 15-piece selection is below. Look carefully!
To Buy: Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, and item number. I will send you an invoice to pay with credit card. Once I receive your funds, I will mail via USPS to anywhere in the USA. Prices include mailing cost. Please buy and pay before Sunday, October 13, 2019. I return to Mexico on October 16. Thank you VERY much.
This is a one-of-a-kind completely handmade necklace, with handmade hollow silver beads and cast milagros in the image of the Virgin of Juquila, a venerated icon. You’ll never see anything like this again. When clasped, it hangs 20-inches. There are 15 milagros, including the three on the suspended cross. Two additional milagros make up the secure hook clasp. This is a collector’s piece. Price is $995. USD including mailing to anywhere in the USA. (Half the price of Federico with more silver.)
These are famed Oaxaca filigree dangle earrings made by the best artisan silversmith I know. The ones on the left are called Muñecas and have a deep ruby red glass center to accent the sterling silver and pearls. The pair on the right are also an impressive statement piece, pearl and sterling with more of the filigree featured. Each pair has a 2-1/2″ drop from where the wire enters the earlobe, and is $245 each (includes mailing to anywhere in the USA).
Don’t like a price? Make me a reasonable offer!
#3 is an outstanding necklace, 22″ long, that I found at an out-of-the-way Oaxaca vintage antique shop. It was too beautiful to pass up and I added it to my collection. Now it’s time for a new home! $595 includes mailing to anywhere in USA.
#4 are among the last pairs of earrings I have made Brigitte Huet, who worked in Oaxaca for 20+ years before she returned to France in 2015. They are formed using the lost wax casting technique, and are 2″ long. $145 USD includes mailing to anywhere in the USA.
#5 is a sterling silver Mexican bubble bangle is made in Taxco, Guerrero. I’m very picky about quality, and this one is the best. 6″ interior diameter opening. Measure your wrist! $165 includes mailing to anywhere in the USA.
#6 is a rare vintage sterling silver Mexican bubble bracelet with native turquoise and hook clasp made in Taxco, Guerrero. It is in very good condition and measures 7-1/4″ long. $185 USD includes mailing to anywhere in the USA.
Don’t like a price? Make me a reasonable offer.
#7, #8, and #9 are jicara gourd, hand-carved and painted, made in Pinotepa de Don Luis, Oaxaca, Mexico. I hand-select each pair for design quality and workmanship excellence. 2-1/2 to 3″ long. Lightweight, versatile, easy to wear. $45 each includes mailing to anywhere in USA. Please specify color and number when ordering. Thank you.
#12. This is a rare Brigitte Huet sterling silver pendant made in the lost wax casting technique. It is from her earliest collection. Price includes mailing to anywhere in USA.
#10 are made by the Mazahua silversmiths of Estado de Mexico. I bought these in Mexico City. Difficult to find now. 3″ long from where wire enters earlobe to end of coral drop. Will mail free to anywhere in USA.
Don’t like a price? Make me a reasonable offer.
These are 950 sterling silver made by fine Mexican jeweler Melesio Rodriguez. They are each 1-1/4″ long. The design is derived from vintage 1950’s Taxco silversmithing. $165 each pair. Includes mailing to anywhere in USA. Please specify which pair you want by number.
#14 was purchased around 2007 from Brigitte when she was working in Oaxaca using the lost wax casting technique. Her fine work was collected by travelers and residents alike. Rare to still find a piece like this. The iconography is Maya representing the huipil woven designs of noblewomen. $435 USD includes mailing to anywhere in the USA.
#15 was bought in Patzcuaro, Michoacan in the early 1990’s. Rare. The fish is the iconic symbol of the region. Handmade silver beads and chain add interest along with the red beans from which the fish are suspended. Whimsical, beautiful, strong and secure with a hook clasp. $295 includes mailing to anywhere in the USA.
I´m in Eastern Europe, starting out along the southern Adriatic Coast of Albania in the capitol city of Tirana. I’m on a cultural tour of the region that has no particular focus, with a friend who needed a roommate. It would never have occured to me to put this on a travel bucket list, but I´m glad I did.
I call this Eastern Europe because it was once part of the Communist bloc pre-Gorbachev, that turned it’s loyalties to China and Mao, a stricter version communism after Glasnost.
This is a developing country. It broke its shackles of repression after more than 30 years of isolation, forced labor camps, concentration camps, and extermination of liberal opposition. This is a city of bunkers built between 1960´s and 1980´s out of paranoid fear of invasion by foreign powers. By 1983, over 173,000 bunkers were built. Tirana today dedicated two to the martyrs who died in opposition, a memorial to a holocaust.
With this in mind, the group I´m traveling with visited the National History Museum. The galleries are devoted to Albania history with ties to Greece, Italy, Macedonia and the Ottoman Empire. Artifacts, including marble busts, bronze weapons and jewelry from archeological sites are on display here.
An entire gallery is devoted to remembering those who suffered and died under the regime of Enver Hoxha. Here, I cried. This is fresh history. Recent history. Living history. And politics here is everywhere.
Albanians love Americans. Woodrow Wilson said Albania should be independent after the Balkans were divided after WWI. In 2007, George W. Bush was the first US president to visit here. Two young students told me it is their dream to go to America. It is heartwarming to be welcomed so enthusiastically by people we meet. The history is dark, yet there is a sunrise to the east in the second poorest (only to Kosovo) country in Europe.
There is a small gift shop at National History Museum. It is filled mostly with vintage textiles that are 60 to 80 years old. The cloth is handwoven wool or cotton, embellished with embroidery or appliqué. The symbol of the country, the double-headed eagle, reminds me of some of the indigenous regions of Oaxaca where the same iconography is central to the language of cloth.
I see weaving patterns that look like Zapotec rugs. I see tiny joining stitches that looks like Mexican randa. I see belts woven on backstrap looms embellished with fringed and wrapped tassels. I see the creativity of a people who desired to adorn themselves in beauty, a consistent them worldwide.
There are mostly European visitors here in this city of one million people, in this country of three million. We were told that there are six million visitors here annually now and the country is struggling to keep up with tourism infrastructure. The time to come here is now!
I am meandering on my own after the museum. I want to go to New Market and head in the direction a museum guard points me to. At a corner, I hesitate. I ask two young people where to find it.
That’s how I meet Casey and Ben. They speak English. I ask them if they will be my guide for the afternoon. They have free time. They are university students starting their first year, and classes are delayed because the registration system is kerfluffled. Along the way they tell me that young people don’t stay here. There is huge unemployment and the jobs are in Italy or Germany. Their dream is to go to the US. They are delighted to help me and I am delighted to give them each 500 Lek, about $5 USD each. Lucky us!
After New Market, I continue on my own to Oda Restaurant and have a traditional Albanian lunch of stuffed eggplant with veggies, corn bread and beer. Then, back to Hotel Rogner for a rest.
Tomorrow, we are off to Montenegro. Who knows what I’ll find there!
Norma Writes for Selvedge Magazine Issues #89 + #109
Creating Connectionand 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
Norma contributes personal essay, How Oaxaca Became Home
We Contribute Two Chapters!
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Meet Makers. Make a Difference
Oaxaca 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.
*Abeja Boutique, Houston
*Selvedge Magazine-London, UK
*Esprit Travel and Tours
*Penland School of Crafts
*North Carolina State University
*WARP Weave a Real Peace
*University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
We offer textile experiences in our studio where we weave and work only in natural dyes.You can see the process during our textile tours, dye workshops or customized weaving experiences. Ask us for more information about these experiences, customized scheduling, and prices.
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Oaxaca has the largest and most diverse textile culture in Mexico! Learn about it.
When you visit Oaxaca immerse yourself in our textile culture: How is indigenous clothing made, what is the best value, most economical, finest available. Suitable for adults only. Set your own dates.
New--Ruta del Mezcal One-Day Tour.We start the day with pottery, visiting a master, then have lunch with a Traditional Oaxaca Cook who is the master of mole making. In Mitla, we meet with our favorite flying shuttle loom weaver, and then finish off with a mezcal tasting at a palenque you will NEVER find on your own! Schedule at your convenience!
Go on all 3 Day of the Dead Tours -- Get a 10% Discount
October 27, 2023: Day of the Dead Ocotlan Highway Tour. It’s Market Day! The biggest of the year. See special altar food and decor, visit artisans, explore culture, eat at a traditional open air cocina de humo (grill kitchen).
October 29, 2023: Teotitlan del Valle Altars and Studio Visits to natural dye and weaving artisans who invite you to their altar rooms to share family traditions. Meet a traditional beeswax candlemaker. Eat mole and mezcal in a local family comedor.
January 13-21, 2024: Oaxaca Coast Textile Study Tour. Very popular! Get your deposit in to reserve. For intrepid travelers. Visit 7 back-strap loom weavers. Explore the culture of cloth and community. 4 SPACES OPEN!
We require 48-hour advance notice for map orders to be processed. We send a printable map via email PDF after your order is 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 After you click, be sure to check PayPal to ensure your email address isn't hidden from us. We fulfill each map order personally. It is not automatic.
Dye Master Dolores Santiago Arrellanas with son Omar Chavez Santiago, weaver and dyer, Fey y Lola Rugs, Teotitlan del Valle