I rarely turn down offers to travel, so when my sister called and asked me to join her on a tour to Oaxaca, Mexico during the region’s Guelaguetza festival, I said: Yes! And I am so glad I did. My artist’s soul is still full of all of the sites, sounds, and color of what turned out to be an incredibly inspiring trip for this gadabout quilter.
Our tour extraordinary group leader, Jean Cockelreas, planned a fun-filled, ten-day whirlwind that included cooking classes at two different locations; demonstrations of dyeing with natural materials; pottery making; spinning and rug weaving; visits to three World Heritage sites; mezcal tasting; a stay at a wonderful B&B called Las Bugambilias; and many delicious feasts along the way.
Guelaguetza Festival–Oaxaca’s Folk Dance Extravaganza
Prepping for the festival.
Waiting to go on stage.
Street dancers posing during La Guelaguetza.
Oaxacan Textiles from Dyeing to Spinning to Rugs
Natural dye ingredients displayed at Zapotec Spirit where we learned about Oaxacan dyeing techniques. The owner is Oscar Perez.
Carmine dye released from crushed Cochineal bugs that live on cacti.
Dyeing wool in a vat of carmine dye.
Dyed wool displayed next to cochineal-infested cacti.
In her eighties and still plying her craft, a Oaxacan artisan trims loose threads from a rug.
Rug stall in a Oaxacan outdoor market.
Clay and Alebrija Artists Show Their Skills and Handiwork
Irma Blanco, a internationally renowned ceramicist from Oaxaca.
Visiting a pottery workshop.
Apprentice alebrije artist paints a wooden animal figure.