An Invitation to an Amazing Oaxacan Adventure

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.

Contemporary Design in Oaxaca

How fun is this?  Ceramic floor tiles designed to look like frijoles!

I'm pretty happy with some of my work from the 2017 Art Retreat - I brought blank pieces of paper that I had letterpressed the word  Oaxaca onto and used them as the base  to collage "santos" figures.
My painted lady above was inspired by a Mary Magdalene statue I saw in Huayapam

 And this one reminds me of a Spanish princess.  Rogene really met each of us where we were and helped us push our boundaries a little bit.

We were all pretty prolific and, I think you can see here, pretty proud too.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Visiting the Museo de Textil in Oaxaca

When you go to Oaxaca, do not miss the Museo de Textil.  
  Make sure you see the exhibits on both floors.
Almost always a big win.

Definitely one of the high points of the 2017 Art Retreat was the visit to the home and studio of Hungarian expat via way of Chile and Canada, surrealist artist Susana Wald who has lived in Oaxaca for the last 20 or so years.

My pal Wren Davidson, who had gone on the 2014 Tour with us has, since then,  been going down to Oaxaca a few months of the year to study drawing and painting and had encountered Susana and began drawing lessons with her at her home studio. "Hmmmmm", I thought, "maybe she can make the introductions for us." She could and she did and little did I know how wonderful it would all turn out to be.

 After a private visit to the village church, we went to Susana's home. We had refreshments. We sat in her big curved exhibition space. Susana talked about her life and then took questions.  Everyone had thoughtful and considered queries and Susana responded in kind. We  learned about the three tenents of surrealism: We must have freedom, We must have love, We must have poetry (creativity). Her helper Quinto brought out her work in chronological order one by one. We talked about spirals, eggs, black stones, anarchy, Mexico, Neruda, freedom, and women as furniture.  I don't think it's an exaggeration to say we were soon all sitting on the edge of our surreal seats.

We were all of us deeply inspired by this dedicated octogenarian artist who has more than one twinkle in her eye. It was a beautiful encuentro and a real sharing of energy. She fed us & we fed her.(And then later we all ate together).

Susana lives with her husband, Ludwig Zeller, a surrealist poet, in a house they designed themselves on the outskirts of Huayapam. 

While we were there, they were having a show of their letters and correspondence at the Stamp Museum  and Susana had a painting show at Santa Domingo. I feel lucky to have had this encounter - with a huge thank you to Rogene Manas, Pablo Gonzales, Quinto Euceda, & Susana Wald for making it all happen.

I'd Never Seen this Before

They told me it was a kind of mezcal. But I'd never seen mezcal quite like that.  Looked more like hair conditioner with it's greys, and yellows, and lavender colored bottles.  Apparently they call them "cremas" and it is some kind of local village thing, more or less derided by serious mezcal aficionandos. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Natural Dyes with Pomegranates

Itty bitty baby pomegranates just at the stage where they are going from flower to fruit.  They are called granada in Spanish.  They;re not native to Mexico but you see them growing in lots of home gardens.

 Mostly I've seen them in Teotitlan where they use the bark to make a natural dye that produces various shades of brown. More and more, like everywhere in the world, you are seeing the resurging interest in natural dyes. Cochineal, indigo, and caracol are at the top of the pyramid historically when it comes to natural dyes in Oaxaca for their brilliant reds, pink, purples, and blues respectively but there are lots of other plants people are using
(And sorry for the big white arrows on the photos. These aren't videos.)