An Invitation to an Amazing Oaxacan Adventure

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.

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.