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Norma writes for Selvedge Magazine Issue #109 -- Rise Up, November 2022
Norma Writes for Selvedge Latin Issue #89
What is a Study Tour: Our programs are designed as learning experiences, and as such we talk with weavers 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. Our interest is in creating connection and artisan economic development.
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
Norma Contributes Two Chapters!
- Norma Schafer and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC has offered programs in Mexico since 2006. We have over 30 years of university program development experience. See my resume.
Study Toursd are personally curated and introduce you to Mexico's greatest artisans. They are off-the-beaten path, internationally recognized. We give you access to where people live and work. Yes, it is safe and secure to travel. Groups are limited in size for the most personal experience.
Programs can be scheduled to meet your travel plans. Send us your available dates.
Designers, retailers, wholesalers, universities and other organizations come to us to develop weaving relationships, customized itineraries, study abroad programs, meetings and conferences. It's our pleasure to make arrangements.
Select Clients *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
Tell us how we can put a program together for you! Send an email email@example.com
- WEAVE Podcast: Oaxaca Coast Textiles & Tour
- NY Times, Weavers Embrace Natural Dye Alternatives
- NY Times, Open Thread–Style News
- 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
- Oaxaca Lending Library
- Oaxaca Weather
- Taller Teñido a Mano Natural Dyes
Notes From An Artist’s Journal by Andrea Donnelly
I am writing this entry from Teotitlan del Valle in Oaxaca, Mexico. I’ve been here since July 4th, exploring the culture and landscape of this beautiful place. Surrounding mountains hug this little village like silent guardians, spirit-lifting backdrops to cobblestone roads and adobe brick walls. The rhythm is slower here, more thoughtful. Teotitlan is a village of master weavers. Wool tapestries hang outside homes, calling cards for the family business. I came here to learn about natural dyes from Eric Chavez, who I met at NC State when he came with his father to give a dye workshop and presentation about his work and his village. In the rug room of their beautiful open-air home hang faded photo portraits of grandparents and great-grandparents at their looms, a history of Zapotec weavers going back four generations. Eric and his father Frederico are still using natural dyes when many have moved to the faster and cheaper but highly toxic synthetics. Though I came with the specific intention of learning the natural processes for indigo and cochineal, I see that there are many more possibilities for natural dye. There are pomegranates, onion, flowers, moss, nuts; so many options for future experiments! Eric and I have been very busy. First he took me to the cochineal farm at Tlapanochestli, where I saw the growth and harvesting process of the delicate little bugs. They grow on cactus spears naturally, but must be tended to very carefully if they are to complete their life cycle. Outside in the sun they might live for a few days, but for the farmers to get a pigment they must live a complete three months. We also began a natural indigo bath at the beginning of this week. The bath consists of indigo and organic matter: banana and mango skins, flower petals, honey and a touch of alcohol. It is currently fermenting in the sun on Eric’s roof, and we expect that it will be ready for dyeing in about another week. A few days ago I helped Eric’s family harvest dye materials from the woods near Benito Juarez, a neighboring village hidden far up one of the mountains. They had run out of moss the night before, so Eric’s mother and father loaded up the back of the pickup truck with baskets, tools, and me, Eric, and his sister, and up the mountain we went. What a view I had from the back of that pickup truck! I am almost through my first big lesson- dyeing wool with cochineal. We’ve mordanted and dyed five 450g skeins of yarn so far, with one left to go: two neutrals, two acids, and one base to date. I’ve learned the very important mordant process and how to get different shades by manipulating the pH of the dye bath. There are five incredibly vibrant natural shades of red, pink, purple, and orange currently drying at Eric’s house, and next week we are going to warp a loom (one of the seven currently put together in his house) for me to weave on with my beautiful fiber. I’m going to practice a traditional Zapotec pattern. Tomorrow will be more cochineal dyeing, and then we are on to indigo with wool. Eric and his entire family have really taken me in. I’m having a wonderful time and learning more than I could have ever imagined.
Click on the blogroll link to see photos and more journal entries from Andrea’s 3-month artist’s residency in Teotitlan studying with Eric Chavez. Andrea graduated from NC State University College of Art and Design, where Eric and Federico Chavez gave a master class to textile students.
Posted in Cultural Commentary, Oaxaca Mexico art and culture, Oaxaca rug weaving and natural dyes
Tagged artist residency in Oaxaca, Eric Chavez Santiago, Federico Chavez Santiago, learning to weave, natural dye bath chemistry, natural dyeing techniques, North Carolina State University textiles program, study art in Oaxaca, Weavers and artists