An Invitation to an Amazing Oaxacan Adventure

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

El Tremor in Oaxaca

Thank goodness for the internet, for social media, for all those thousand and one ways that we can stay in touch with one another and know that people are OK or people need help and that we can reach out and support them in the midst of natural disasters.  I mean it's been flood in Houston and fires here at home in the Pacific Northwest and now an earthquake off the coast of Southern Mexico.
Well not any old earthquake, the biggest one in 100 years.

I remember reading (I think maybe in Diana Kennedy's tome on Oaxacan cooking) that  in Oaxaca people believe in an animating force that makes our heart beat, that makes the foam froth on the tejate, and that makes the earth tremble. Earthquake -  they call it terremoto in Spanish, the earth that moves or el tremor, the little trembling. Thankfully most everyone I know in Oaxaca (with one nagging little exception whom I have not heard from) is OK. I think this is code for we are fine physically and our homes are intact (but maybe we just went through something literally earth shattering and are a little freaked out). My friend Jane Robison said she never felt anything quite like it in her 25 years of living in Oaxaca. So there's that. Plus over 1,000 aftershocks since Thursday.

Hardest hit was the city of Juchitan down in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, famous for it's floral embroidery, it's muxes, it's wind farms and more. Thousands without electricity and a thousand homes destroyed plus lots of damage to schools and churches.  The artist Francisco Toledo has set up a donation fund to help Juchitan. Click here to find out what you can do to help. Our thoughts are with the people of Oaxaca.

(top photo from ruins of Mitla bottom photo weaving by the artist Annie Albers)

I'm Giving a little Talk

Very much looking forward to giving a slideshow on Textile Traditions of Southern Mexico in conjunction with Lane Arts Fiesta Cultural.  The Fiesta is a three month extravaganza celebrating Latin Culture in Eugene. And some exciting things are happening - besides great music, dance, and arts  -  Maria Hinojosa, host of radio show Latino USA  is at U of O on October 5 talking about "We the People" and the incredibly brave 'undocumented' author and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas is speaking at U of O October 24. Click here for a more complete link to The Fiesta Cultural offerings.

In between those two powerhouses, on Tuesday October 17th at 7 pm,  I'm doing a little slideshow over at Lincoln Gallery (at 4th & Lincoln) about the various weavers I have encountered in my travels through Oaxaca and Chiapas. Super psyched as it was a great opportunity to gather my  photos and videos from 8 different trips all into one place. And also to gather my thoughts about what I have learned.

I am by no means an expert on textiles or Oaxaca & Chiapas  but I have seen a few things that have moved me to share.  I am hoping those of you who have traveled here, those of you who love textiles, those of you who weave and those of you want to learn more about our neighbor to the south will come. Wear your favorite piece of clothing! Some food, some drink, some merriment, and a little show and tell are also on the agenda.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Church at Teotitlan

The church in Teotitlan de Valle is one of my favorites.  It's a a very active church and there's always something going on. 

Flowering Cacti

Sometimes I get a little claustrophobic in those tiny rooms at Mitla so I let Pablo go inside the ruins with the group and amaze them with descriptions of the acoustic, architectural, and optical illusions that the Mixtec builders created.  And, for the record, describing the palaces at Mitla as ruins might be a little misleading as they are remarkably intact. 

 Meanwhile, I draw or take pics of cactuses.  These photos are from September and lots of the cacti were flowering. Enjoy.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Why go to Oaxaca?

Everyone seems to have their own muse calling them to Oaxaca. Some go for the mezcal, actually many go for the mezcal.  Others are searching out the magic mushrooms of Maria Sabina or a smoky hot chili found only in the northern hills.  Some go for yoga and surfing and the sun.  Some are grieving and want to know more about this land where the dead come back every year.   And there are those who go to eat or dance or make art or buy art.  Others find themselves scouring the mountain vistas in search of something ancient and authentic.

Old ways and new ways, tourists and locals all seem to be immersed in one constant dance known as Oaxaca. Whatever calls you,, I urge you to follow the voice. I'm just now finalizing dates for a 2018 tour in the fall and would love to have you join me.  Email me at and I'll put you on the mailing list to let you know details as they arise.

Where to Eat in Oaxaca

Here's a link to a fun article about the restaurant scene in Oaxaca - People were raving about the restaurant El Destilado last time I was there. It's definitely on the must go to list.  Ah Oaxaca, so many restaurants, so little time.

Monday, June 19, 2017

One of My Favorite Textile Destinations in Oaxaca

  Every textile lover who roams the streets of Oaxaca thinks this place is their little secret.  It's the green gate two doors up from the Artisan's market. And it's true, you have to come in and say, "I am a friend of La Duena Juana", or , "I know so and so who knows so and so", before the proprietress, Guadalupe, directs you to her back rooms packed floor to ceiling with a dizzying array of Guatemalan textiles and a few outstanding pieces from the Isthmus as well. Floor to ceiling  It really takes stamina to shop here because there is so much to look at. You could give yourself a whole course in Guatemalan village textiles simply by spending time here.

I always find something fabulous.  Check out this crazy pieces I found in the photo above Do you see the word "pepsi" woven across the middle band?  Would you not love to know what the story is behind that?  I would for sure.

We always spend some time shopping on the tours and I do know all the good textile stores although there are new ones popping up all the time.