On Wednesday, July 19, 2023, we will take you into the cloud forest deep into the Sierra Norte Mountains of Oaxaca, to the silk weaving village of San Pedro Cajonos. Cajonos is located at 10,000 feet above sea level and fifty-seven (57) miles northeast of Oaxaca City. This amazing region in Oaxaca is set in the middle of a pine forest and boasts a cooler microclimate — a perfect destination for mid-summer travel.
This is a Zapotec community. Many fled here from the Valles Centrales de Oaxaca (the central valleys) to escape the Spanish conquest in 1521. Deep into the folds of the mountains, they remained out of view and inaccessible to the influences of colonization. Here, we will spend the day with artisan families who specialize in making ixtle (agave fiber) bags and weave amazing silk garments from cultivated worms that become silk cocoons that magically are transformed into fine silk strands. We will have a special homemade traditional lunch in the home of one of the most famous silk weavers in Mexico. His dining room overlooks verdant mountain valleys. Then, we will visit the recently opened Silk Sanctuary, built by federal and state funds to support this important economic development project.
This region of Oaxaca is known throughout Mexico as the mecca of hand made silk production. We will discuss the processes used to make these precious textiles. We meet weaving families who devote their creative energies into raising silk worms, raising mulberry trees to feed them, harvesting and preparing the cocoons, using hand-spinning, natural dyeing and fringe knotting (macrame) techniques to complete these fine textiles.
We invite textile enthusiasts to join us on this textile adventure and spend a full day exploring, learning, and appreciating how silk is made into cloth. You will have plenty of opportunity to shop, if you wish, too. (Credit cards accepted.)
This is a full day of travel in a comfortable van. We will depart at 8:00 a.m. and return by 7:00 pm. from the same location in Oaxaca Centro. We will announce the group meeting location closer to the date of the tour. Group size is limited to 14 people.
Your Oaxaca Cultural Navigator Expert is Eric Chavez Santiago. Eric Chavez Santiago is an expert in Oaxaca and Mexican 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 started Taller Teñido a Mano dye studio where they produce naturally dyed yarn skeins and textiles for worldwide distribution. Eric is a business partner with Oaxaca Cultural Navigator, too. 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, and has deep personal relationships with indigenous artisans throughout Oaxaca and Mexico.
Climate and what to wear to be comfortable: We go high into the misty mountains where it can be overcast and breezy, with drizzle or rain. Please bring a rain jacket, umbrella, wear comfortable walking boots and a hat.
Cost: This one-day tour includes transportation in a luxury van, lunch, complete guide services with translation, textile and cultural interpretation, and commentary. The cost is $295 per person.
Reservations and Cancellations
We require a non-refundable 25% deposit of $73.75 per person to secure your registration. We offer you three (3) ways to pay the deposit: 1) Zelle transfer with NO SERVICE FEE, 2) PayPal and add a 3% service fee, 3) VENMO and add a 3% service fee. Please tell us which payment method you prefer and we will send a request for funds. The 75% balance of $221.25 per person is due on the day of the tour in cash, either USD or MXN pesos (at the current exchange rate). When we receive funds, we will send you confirmation and details.