A community of Zapotec artisans in the storied artisan village outside Oaxaca, Juana’s family is leading a push to reclaim lost indigenous traditions, from weaving to natural dyeing. Stay with them to learn and experience the rich cultural traditions of the indigenous Zapotec people.
Juana and her family are award-winning masters of traditional Zapotec natural dyeing and weaving. The family has been weaving in Teotitlan del Valle for hundreds of years and dedicated to preserving this indigenous tradition. They only work with natural dyes and experiment with new uses of sisal (from agave), a natural fiber traditionally used in the area. They grow as much of their fibers and dyes locally as is possible, and work with local growers to make crops like the indigenous strain of indigo more sustainable. In addition to cochineal and indigo, they grow pomegranate and citrus trees and use local trees, mosses and barks to create dyes. By reviving ancient traditions and reclaiming indigenous practices, the family is reinterpreting what these fibers and dyes mean as cultural materials. They like educating, working and collaborating with people who are interested in sustainable design and new uses for natural fibers & dyes. Juana's large family of siblings, children, nieces and nephews are all involved in one way or another--it is truly a family business! An expert in the kitchen, Juana also teaches traditional cooking, from mole sauce to tamales and traditional roasted chocolate.
Three days of learning natural dyeing techniques, including indigo and cochineal.
Collecting muicle leaves and wood ash for fermentation.
Extracting various shades of blue from indigo and creating other green and purple shades.
Three days of learning weaving on a frame loom using the wool you dyed.
Weaving techniques of familiar Zapotec motifs, understanding thread count per inch and learning how to operate a traditional spinning wheel.
Visit to the local community museum to identify motifs and recognize weaving styles dating back hundreds of years.
Materials and tools.
Your own small finished piece.
Accommodation and meals, including Juana's hot chocolate and pan dulce in the evenings.
Stay at Juana's
Accommodation with Juana and her family is included with your VAWAA. You will have your own bedroom with two double beds, as well as a shared bathroom and sitting room at their home studio. All meals will be shared with the family, and you are welcome to help with the marketing at their morning market in the village center.
A famous weaving village with an artistic history that traces back thousands of years, Teotitlán del Valle is awash with color, patterns, and artisan culture. It’s long been a home for artisan families famous for their natural dyed and woven rugs. While there, sample regional Zapotec ingredients like nopal (cactus) and chapulines (toasted grasshoppers), as well as traditional mezcal. Known as the “Place of the Gods,” Teotitlán del Valle is also surrounded by stunning landscapes, with local hikes to explore nearby caves and springs.
This VAWAA is available for a longer duration. Please ask when you send your booking request.