Oaxaca, Mexico, is known for her textile diversity. Cotton and silk threads, and wool yarn are woven into amazing fabrics that become clothing, home goods, and rugs. Many pieces are unique and tell a story of family, community, beliefs and spirituality. In the city and throughout remote mountain villages, women and men weave using ancient technologies – back strap loom, pedal loom and flying shuttle loom. Each technique yields a different type of cloth. Some threads are even dyed using natural plant materials such as wild marigold, pecan nuts and shells, tree bark and leaves, and with the nopal cactus parasitic insect that yields carminic acid. You may have heard of it: cochineal. This was the most valuable export from Mexico during the Spanish conquest next to gold and silver.
Our walking tour is four hours starting at 9:30 a.m. and ending at 1:30 p.m. It is designed to introduce you to the textile traditions of Oaxaca. During our time together, we explain the processes, and show you a range of textiles offered at various price points. We will visit four venues, including market vendors and boutique galleries to discuss, evaluate and compare quality, workmanship, design, materials, and weaving types and styles.
This is an ADULTS ONLY walking tour. It is not suitable for children under the age of 14. We limit this tour to 6 adults.
By participating, you will gain a better understanding for what is produced for tourist consumption and what is made for personal use, the stories that are woven into the cloth by indigenous people, the difference between commercial or handwoven cloth, and how to determine value and cost.
This is an essential foundation tour to discover how textiles are an integral part of Oaxaca’s rich culture and traditions. We meet at a central Oaxaca historic district location and cover about 12 city blocks. Be prepared to walk! Wear comfy shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen and water.
Your Oaxaca Cultural Navigator is Eric Chavez Santiago, a weaver and natural dye expert who was the founding director of education at the Museo Textile de Oaxaca, and former managing director of folk-art gallery Andares del Arte Popular. Eric speaks Zapotec, Spanish and English. He is a partner in Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC with founder Norma Schafer and part of the Casa Fe y Lola family textile organization.
Book Your Experience with Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC
$275 USD for one or two persons.
Each additional person for a group of three or more is $95 per person up to six people. Children over 14 years old are welcome. Note: This tour does NOT include lunch. It is a curated educational experience that includes translations and in-depth explanations.
To register, send us an email to Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC Norma Schafer to tell us the dates you prefer. Please give us a choice of two or three dates to reserve your tour. A 25% non-refundable deposit will confirm your reservation. We will send you an invoice for the deposit to be paid in advance online using an e-commerce platform. The balance is due on the day of the tour in cash – payable in either US dollars or MXN pesos.
We also create customized textile tours of one- to several days in length for collectors, designers, makers, retailers and wholesalers.