I am offering several rugs from my collection for sale! Why? They don’t fit into my Taos house. The sizes and colors are not adapting well to my new environment. Some are new. All are in excellent condition.
How to Buy: send an email to email@example.com and tell me the rug you want to purchase by number, your email, your mailing address and which payment method you prefer: 1) Zelle bank transfer with no service fee; 2) Venmo or 3) PayPal each with a 3% service fee. I will then send you a request for funds.
Shipping cost is based on weight and destination, and is additional. I will need to know your address and determine weight to calculate mailing costs.
This new, never used rug is made by a master weaver in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca who is a personal friend. It took him two months to create this masterpiece. The colors are a mix of gray on a cream background. The edges where it was cut from the loom are finished with an intricate braiding technique. No fringes to get stuck in your vacuum cleaner. The Caracol design is the most difficult to achieve because of the curves. It is symbolic of communication and the frets have deep meaning regarding the continuity of life, interpreted from nearby Mitla archeological site. Tapestry woven rugs of this size and quality are retailing for between $2,800 and $3,200. I’m selling it for $1,800 plus shipping. I calculate shipping cost to be around $60 but I will let you know if you wish to purchase this.
This is woven at the Fe y Lola studio in Teotitlan del Valle of churra sheep wool colored with natural dyes the yellow comes from wild marigold a d it is paired with a warm natural gray wool the warp is sturdy cotton. The design is an innovative version of a traditional style. this rug usually sells for $510. You can buy it for $425.
This tapestry is made with all natural dyes and measures 2-1/3 ft x 3 ft. the wool is dyed with cochineal, moss, and wild marigold. It is very fine and dense weaving using 10 warp threads per inch. Retails for $450. Will sell for $325.
This rug has no wear and will surely provide pleasure and comfort for another two or three generations. Thick wool pile. Vintage. Outstanding. Last photo is reverse side of rug. Valued at between $600-800. Will sell for $385. This rug is heavy and I estimate shipping could be $75-100.
Thank you VERY much for looking. Let me know if you have any questions. Thank
I first met Luvia more than ten years ago in Teotitlan del Valle, where she was born and raised and where I have lived since 2005. She was a budding young photographer then who had heart, soul, an artistic eye, creative energy and poor equipment. I invited her to participate at no cost in our 2013 Day of the Dead Photography Workshopin exchange for helping me arrange personal visits into the homes of local artisans. We were focusing on portrait and street photography, so having Luvia’s help was invaluable. Our participants loved Luvia and we raised funds among us to buy her a good Nikon DSLR camera. From there, it was only a matter of time!
In the last week, Vogue magazine published an article about the traje or indigenous garments of the villages represented in the folkloric extravaganza of Oaxaca called Guelaguetza. Luvia did the photography! It is a beautiful rendering of indigenous textiles and their meaning.
And, in March 2022, The New Yorker magazine published a feature about Luvia and her work, highlighting her innovative camera style in a photo essay about the elderly in Teotitlan del Valle — a tribute to her grandmother whom I knew and who helped raise her.
I’m in awe of who she has become and the trajectory of her accomplishments. I met her grandmother, who was frail and elderly, just before she passed. I know and admire her parents who operate a butcher shop in our village and sell at the daily market. They are warm, generous and hard-working people who are supportive of their daughter’s talents.
I took these photos in 2013 and at the time used my wasband’s name, which I changed to Schafer in 2016.
To demonstrate Luvia’s talent and her potential, these are the photos she took in 2013, too.
Note: We have a few spaces open for 2022 Day of the Dead Culture Tour. A perfect time to photography this pre-Hispanic Oaxaca ritual of honoring loved ones who have transitioned to the beyond.
October 29 to November 4, 2022—6 nights and 7 days— $2,895 for a shared room and $3,495 for a single room. We have 3 single rooms and 4 shared rooms available.
Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico, is meaningful and magical. Celebrations in the villages go deep into Zapotec culture, community, tradition and pre-Hispanic practice. Some say it is the most important annual celebration in Mexico and here in Oaxaca, we know this is true. This tour is limited to 10 participants.
At Oaxaca Cultural Navigator, we hope to give you an unparalleled and in-depth travel experience to participate and delve deeply into indigenous culture, folk art and celebrations.
Beyond the city, in the Tlacolula Valley, many smaller villages are still able to retain their traditional practices. Here they build altars at home, light copal incense, make offerings of homemade chocolate, bread and atole, prepare a special meal of tamales, and visit the homes of relatives to greet deceased ancestors who have returned for this 24-hour period. Then, at the designated hour, the living go to the cemeteries to be with their loved ones — either to welcome them back into the world or put them to rest after their visit here – the practice depends on each village.
You will learn about this and more as you come with us to meet artisans in three different villages beyond Oaxaca city who welcome us into their homes and their lives during this sacred festival.
Study Tour Highlights:
Visit homes, altars and cemeteries in three Zapotec villages: Teotitlan del Valle, San Pablo Villa de Mitla, and San Marcos Tlapazola
Participate in presenting altar offerings at each home we visit
As a group, build a traditional altar to remember and honor your own loved ones
Learn to make homemade chocolate with the Mexican cacao bean
See a tamale-making demonstration and taste what is prepared
Shop for altar décor at the largest Teotitlan del Valle market of the year
Learn how mezcal is an integral part of festival culture and tradition
We created this study tour to take you out of the city, beyond the hubbub of party revelry and glitz of a Halloween-like experience that has morphed into a Hollywood-style extravaganza in downtown Oaxaca. We will compare how city celebrations complete with costumes and face painting differ from those in villages even as outside influences impact change. Our desire is to give you a full immersion experience that evokes what Day of the Dead may have been like 20 or 30 years ago–mystical, magical, transcendent and spiritual.
Even so, cultural tourism has found its way into the back roads of Oaxaca. We do our best to be respectful by limiting the size of our group to 10 participants, to give you an orientation about to what to expect and do during our visits, and to offer you an intimate, personal experience.
We give you an insider’s view. You have the guidance of local expert Eric Chavez Santiago who will lead this cultural tour. Eric is a partner in Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.
Eric Chavez Santiago is an expert in Oaxaca and Mexican folk art with a special interest in artisan economic development. He is a weaver and natural dyer by training, a fourth generation member of the Fe y Lola rug weaving family, who was born and raised in Teotitlan del Valle. He has intimate knowledge of local traditions and customs, speaks the indigenous Zapotec language, and serves as your cultural navigator.
Eric is a graduate of the Anahuac University, and speaks English and Spanish. He can translate language, culture and traditions, tell you about practices in his extended family and how they have experienced the changes over time.
Moreover, he is deeply connected and will introduce you to some of the finest artisans in the region, where you will meet weavers, natural dyers, ceramic artists, and traditional cooks. You will have an opportunity to see artisan craft demonstrations and to shop for your own collection or for gifts, as you wish.
We will be based in a comfortable Bed and Breakfast establishment one block from the market in Teotitlan del Valle for our time together. (You might decide to arrive early and stay a few nights in the city or extend your trip to be in the city afterward.)
Saturday, October 29: Arrive in Oaxaca and travel to Teotitlan del Valle. Check in to a highly-rated, locally owned bed and breakfast inn. Snack box available for arrivals after 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 30: During our breakfast orientation, we discuss how Day of the Dead is celebrated in the villages and then go on a walking tour that includes the village market, church, archeological site, and cultural center. Today you will also visit the homes and studios of rug weavers, candle makers, and silk weavers talking with them about their own family observances. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle. (Includes breakfast and welcome dinner)
Monday, October 31: After breakfast, walk to the Teotitlan del Valle market to shop for altar decorations to later build a group altar. Bring photos of those you want to remember! Then, we will venture out into the countryside to visit the Zapotec village of San Marcos Tlapazola to meet artisans and discuss their family Dia de los Muertos traditions. You will see demonstrations of red clay pottery and have a chance to buy if you wish. We will come prepared with altar gifts of chocolate and bread to present to the difuntos. On the road, we will stop at a traditional comedor for lunch (at your own expense). We finish the day with a mezcal tour and tasting in Santiago Matatlan, mezcal capital of the world. Mezcal is an integral part of Zapotec celebrations and we will see why. (B, D)
Monday, November 1: After breakfast, travel to San Pablo Villa de Mitla to meet a noted weaver artisan who will take us to their family gravesite at the village cemetery and talk about history and traditions. Visit a home where a traditional altar tells the story of ancient Zapotec culture. Our hosts will explain the ancient, pre-Hispanic altar offerings and go deep into the meaning of Muertos here in Oaxaca. You will bring your offering of chocolate and bread to put on their altar to honor our host’s ancestors. We will spend the day with this family and enjoy a very special lunch that they have prepared in our honor. – Para todo mal, mezcal. Para todo bien, tambien. (B, D)
Tuesday, November 2: After breakfast, we will visit the Teotitlan del Valle cemetery to see preparations being made to honor dead loved ones: cleaning and decorating the graves. Then we will spend the afternoon in the courtyard of a traditional cook, who shows us how to make hot chocolate and tamales with mole amarillo. We’ll have late lunch there and then accompany her to the cemetery while she sits with her loved ones as they return to the underworld. After the cemetery, you will enjoy a before bedtime snack and discuss how participating in Day of the Dead has had an impact on you. Compare and contrast this experience with USA and Canadian experiences with death and dying. (B, L, D)
Wednesday, November 3: After breakfast, we will arrange for any laboratory tests (at your own expense) required to re-enter the USA. Then, we will hold an EXPOVENTA to showcase the work of outstanding weavers representing various villages throughout Oaxaca state, including San Juan Colorado, Triqui, and San Mateo del Mar, and San Pedro Cajones. The rest of the afternoon is on your own. You can arrange a taxi to take you to the city, to neighboring villages or archeological sites. We will enjoy a final goodbye supper before you depart. (B, D)
Thursday, November 4: Departure. We will help you arrange a taxi (at your own expense) to the airport or you may choose to stay on in Oaxaca or visit another part of Mexico. (B) Hasta la proxima!
Itinerary subject to change based on scheduling and availability.
What Is Included
6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners
6 nights lodging at a charming B&B hotel in Teotitlan del Valle
museum and church entry fees
luxury van transportation
outstanding and complete guide services
the cultural experience of a lifetime
What is NOT Included
The program does NOT include airfare, taxes, tips, travel insurance, liquor or alcoholic beverages, some meals, and local transportation as specified in the itinerary. We reserve the right to substitute instructors and alter the program as needed.
Cost • $2,895 double room with private bath (sleeps 2) • $3,495 single room with private bath (sleeps 1)
Reservations and Cancellations. A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to guarantee your spot. The balance is due in two equal payments. The second payment of 50% of the balance is due on or before June 15, 2022. The third payment is due on or before September 1, 2022. We accept payment using online e-commerce only. We will send you an itemized invoice when you tell us you are ready to register. After September 1, 2022, there are no refunds. If you cancel on or before September 1, 2022, we will refund 50% of your deposit received to date less the $500 non-refundable deposit. After that, there are no refunds. If we cancel for whatever reason, you will receive a full refund.
The tour and COVID-19: You are required to be FULLY VACCINATED to participate. You must send Proof of Vaccination (this includes all boosters) by email on or before June 15, 2022. You can take a photo of the documentation and forward it to us. All participants are required to wear N95 OR KN95 face masks, use hand-sanitizer and practice social distancing while together. We will sanitize vans and keep the windows open when traveling together. Please note: You MUST also provide proof of international travel insurance including $50,000 of emergency medical evacuation coverage.
Tell us if you want a shared/double room or a private/single room. We will send you an e-commerce invoice by email that is due on receipt.
Who Should Attend • Anyone interested in indigenous culture and creativity, who wants a deep immersion experience into Day of the Dead practices and traditions, and who appreciates artisan craft — weaving, embroidery, pottery. If you are a collector, come with us to go deep and find the best artisans. If you are a photographer or artist, come with us for inspiration. If you are an online retailer, come with us to find the stories to market what you sell.
All documentation for plane reservations, required travel insurance, and personal health issues must be received 45 days before the program start or we reserve the right to cancel your registration without reimbursement.
Terrain, Walking and Group Courtesy: Oaxaca and surrounding villages are colonial and pre-Hispanic. The altitude is close to 6,000 feet. Many streets and sidewalks are cobblestones, narrow and uneven. We will do a lot of walking. We recommend you bring a walking stick and wear study shoes.
If you have mobility issues or health/breathing impediments or you are immunocompromised, please consider that this may not be the study tour for you.
Traveling with a small group has its advantages and also means that independent travelers will need to make accommodations to group needs and schedule. We include free time to go off on your own if you wish.
My goddaughter Janet Chavez is coming to Durham on April 26 and will drive west with me to Taos, New Mexico. I call this bringing Oaxaca to me! I’m excited because this will be her first road trip across the USA. We haven’t seen each other for over a year and there is a lot to catch up about. Janet is a linguist. She is tri-lingual and then some, speaking Spanish, Zapotec, English and a smattering of other Romance languages. She also gives presentations about preserving indigenous language and culture, helped develop an online Zapotec talking dictionary, and is affiliated with Haverford College.
Janet is also bringing rugs her family makes from hand-carded wool and natural dyes. (See feylolarugs.com) This includes medium and large sizes. Purchase now and Janet will bring your rug with her and ship from Durham, NC, next week before we hit the road. Remember, these are one-of-a-kind and all dyed with natural dyes — plants and cochineal. At Fe y Lola Rugs, they make all their own dye pots and color the churro wool yarn skein by skein. It is a slow production process. All sales go directly to the family! You are buying direct from the master makers.
We encourage you to purchase now since Janet may not bring all rugs shown with her, only those that sell in advance. Please purchase by Saturday, April 24.
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. We will calculate shipping to your location from Durham, NC (a big savings), and send you an invoice for the total. Please DO NOT SELECT buying goods or services at check-out. We also accept Venmo and Zelle. I can send you a Square invoice (+3% fee) if you don’t use PayPal. All sales final.
Our family is a four generation lineage of weavers and natural dyers from Teotitlan del Valle, a Zapotec community in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Our rugs are one-of-a-kind, with complex designs that blend tradition with innovation, setting the standard for beauty and quality. At Fe y Lola, we tell stories through threads.
Twenty years ago, Fe y Lola took a risk and decided to focus on producing high quality wool rugs on a small scale. They invested in a sustainable weaving process that does not include toxic chemicals such as sulfuric acids and anilines, that are very dangerous for one’s health as well as for the environment. By conducting research on natural dyes, experimenting with local natural dye materials, and most importantly, rediscovering and re-learning ancient Zapotec natural dyeing techniques, they began to develop an exclusive palette of natural colors and combinations. Along the way, they had the opportunity to learn from and share knowledge with other natural dyers and weavers from all over the world, enriching their comment to their work and customers.
Norma’s Notes: I have lived with this family on their land in Teotitlan del Valle since 2005. Back then, I saw that what they were doing was extraordinary and unheralded. Over the years, they have continued to produce some of the best tapestry weaving in the village and are noted for their innovative color combinations, density of woven fiber, and rich, all natural colors. Supporting them in their efforts to become more well known has been my passion over the years because I admire their commitment, tenacity, creativity, and talent. Now, I get to watch how the children, who are now adults and the next generation of weavers, continue in the ancient traditions of their family and culture. Their rugs have added joy to my living space for all these years, without fading or discoloration.
The definition is simple: To recognize that Zapotec is a living, modern language of the present as well as that of the past, to preserve the language and support native speakers, to inculcate the language among young people and pass it on, to make it visible and disseminate it to the global community, to apply social media technology to keep the language vibrant, to acknowledge the diverse group of speakers throughout Oaxaca and the diaspora, and to respect the people and culture that have kept this a living language for millenia. There is pride in being a Zapotec speaker.
While the definition is simple, implementation has challenges, but this Project is undertaking a sea-change in how native language is spoken, written, researched and disseminated.
I participated in the conference as an observer, and mostly to show support to the Zapotec activists I know in Oaxaca: my goddaughter Janet Chavez Santiago from Teotitlan del Valle, and Fellow for Community Based Learning at Haverford College, with friend Moises Garcia Guzman de Contareras from San Jeronimo Tlacochuhuaya. Both Janet and Moises host faculty and students from the USA in Oaxaca, and travel to Pennsylvania to teach. They are linguist educators.
Moises greeted us via video in the courtyard of the Tlacochuhuaya church. He then took us to his family’s milpa where he recalled that the 1695 last will and testament of Sebastiana de Mendoza, translated from the Zapotec, proved that land could be inherited by women to fight male exclusiveness. His mother owns this land and it will be inherited by Moises’ daughter. The document certifies this.
There is a substantial Zapotec speaking population in California who are from Oaxaca. Many have been there for generations. Xochitl Flores-Marcial, PhD, teaches history, language and culture at California State University at Northridge. She earned her doctorate at UCLA, renown for linguistics studies.
Xochitl, a presenter last night, studied and wrote about the ancient guelaguetza system (not a folkloric dance) of mutual support to keep Oaxaca communities strong, independent and interconnected. She emphasized that over 2,500 years ago, Zapotecs carved their ideas and beliefs on stone monuments, pottery and deer hides. They produced texts in their own voices citing intellectual achievements.
Poet-scholar Felipe H. Lopez, PhD, emphasized that modern social media is being used to harness 16th Century manuscripts and texts documented by Spanish Dominican friar Juan de Cordova. de Cordova translated a codified logographic and pictographic writing system into Spanish and these documents survive. This pre-alphabet writing of symbols (that correspond to words) and drawings were meant to travel across language varieties.
Zapotec Activist Janet Chavez Santiago, who was instrumental in creating the Teotitlan del Valle Zapotec talking dictionary, discussed what it means to be a Zapotec from this famous rug weaving village. Her family operates Galeria Fe y Lola Rugs.
Some years ago, Dr. Lillehaugen, faculty associates and students created the Zapotec talking dictionary to provide a teaching tool and learning foundation. What they have created are various dictionaries that represent the variety of tobal variations spoken in different parts of Oaxaca. Many of us who follow Zapotec language and culture known that villages in the Tlacolula Valley, for example, do not understand each other because of language variation.
Zapotec Activist Janet Chavez Santiago, who was instrumental in creating the Teotitlan del Valle Zapotec talking dictionary and has presented at international linguistics conferences, discussed what it means to be a Zapotec from this famous rug weaving village. She linked together how language, culture and weaving supports continuity.
She explains that weaving derives from ancestral knowledge. Creativity is express by incorporating the influences of the present. Yarn, she says, is a connection with the past. As she demonstrates the technique of pedal loom weaving on a video we watch, Janet says that her hands express Zapotec traditions and culture. The warp and weft weave a story of the ancients and bring them into our contemporary world. Symbols incorporated in the tapestries translate culture to others.
“We are a living culture, existing in the present and rooted in the past, a community supported by past and present. We do not speak of Zapotec people and language in the past tense,” she says.
Indigenous language is at risk. The Ticha Project is designed to protect, preserve and promote Zapotec. Many Oaxaca children do not learn Zapotec unless there is a village operated pre-school (like there is in Teotitlan del Valle). This is a language of the grandmothers. The project aims to give accessibility to native speakers, to expand access to those who want to learn, to instill cultural awareness and pride, and to use the Internet to connect Zapotec speakers in the Diaspora.
As I watched my friends and saw video of the land where I live, I was reminded about how much I miss being in Oaxaca and having this deep connection to people and place.
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
Norma contributes personal essay, How Oaxaca Became Home
Norma Contributes Two Chapters!
Click image to order yours!
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.
*Selvedge Magazine-London, UK
*Esprit Travel and Tours
*Penland School of Crafts
*North Carolina State University
*WARP Weave a Real Peace
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.
One-Day Custom Tours: Tell Us When You Want to Go!
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.
1-Day OaxacaCity Collectors Textile Tour.Exclusive Access! We take you into the homes and workshops of Oaxaca State's prize-winning weavers. They come from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the Mixteca, Mixe, Amuzgos and Triqui areas and represent their weaving families and cooperatives here. For collectors, retailers, buyers, wholesalers, fashionistas.
February 5-13, 2023: Bucket List Tour: Monarch Butterflies + Michoacan. Spiritual, mystical connection to nature. Go deep into weaving, pottery, mask-making and more! We haven't offered this tour since 2019 and we anticipate it will sell out quickly.
October 27, 2023: Day of the Dead Ocotlan Highway Tour, One Day. 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.
Go on all 3 Day of the Dead Tours -- Get a 10% Discount
Go with Us in 2024: Get on the Interested List
January 2024--Oaxaca Coast Textile Study Tour
February 2024--Mexico City, Puebla + Tlaxcala
Late February 2024--Textile Study Tour to Chiapas
Stay Healthy. Stay Safe. In Oaxaca, wear your mask. Questions? Want TO REGISTER or more info? Send an email to Norma Schafer.
Maps: Teotitlan + Tlacolula Market
We require 48-hour advance notice for map orders to be processed. We send a printable map via email PDF after order 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