Alaska, Mexico and Beyond…

“One Journey Leads to Another”

Archive for the tag “textiles”

Cee’s Photo Challenge: Contrast Colors

Contrasting colors in Oaxaca? Too easy.  Oaxaca is awash with bold color combinations. It could be the birthplace of color contrasts! A one hour walk around El Centro provided more photo ops than I imagined.  I did not have to find them – they found me!


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If you just can’t decide what color to use…why not use them all!


Photo taken in San Martín Tilcajete



Throughout the day and even at sunset, the colors that surround us are intensified by the beautiful Oaxaca blue sky.




Hiking Oaxaca: Santa Ana del Valle

Hugging the foot of a mountain in the Tlacolula Valley, the charming village of Santa Ana del Valle was the starting point for the weekly hike of “Hoofing It In Oaxaca.” Zapotec is the common language spoken here, and many people earn at least part of their living by weaving gorgeous rugs and other tapestries.

View of Santa Ana

The village of Santa Ana is in the foreground, and Tlacolula, the largest city in this valley, is in the distance.

Santa Ana del Valle Overlook

Santa Ana del Valle Overlook

From an altitude of approximately 5400 feet, we climbed 1619 ft. (493.5 m.)to a high point of about 7032 ft. (2143 m.) Particularly for those of us used to living at sea level, there was a lot of huffing and puffing! Our rewards were spectacular views in every direction and the opportunity to visit an unexcavated archaeological site.

Ancient Ball Court

This ancient ball court is part of the unexcavated archaeological site at the top of the mountain.

Descending is SO much easier than climbing!

Descending is SO much easier than climbing!

Back in the plaza of Santa Ana, we visited their lovely church and bought handwoven tapestries from friendly local artists.

Popular Art Museum

Fanciful alebrijes, exquisitely detailed black pottery, stunning textiles, and other wonderful works of art await the visitor’s viewing pleasure in the Museum of Popular Art Oaxaca.

Click on any photo to view as a slide show.

The artists of San Bartólo Coyotepec, where the museum is located, are famous for their black pottery (barro negro).  After forming the brown clay vases, bowls and characters entirely by hand,  potters using small knives and other specialized tools cut in surface designs and see-throughs. The clay changes to a pearly black color as it is fired. 

Black Pottery Vase

Black Pottery Vase

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Sometimes outlandish, often humorous, but always gracefully carved and vividly painted, alebrijes hold the power to make the viewer gasp with astonishment at the meticulous hand painting or smile at the whimsy of the creator.

Fantasy Creature

Fantasy Creature
Photo by Peter Martin

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Fiber artists of southern Mexico are well-known for producing gorgeous textiles that are used for clothing, bags, tablecloths, and bedspreads. Artisans weave with backstrap looms, table looms, and floor looms, and they often decorate their weavings with colorful hand embroidery.

Click on any photo to view as a slide show.

Naptime in the Museum

A friend, Peter Martin, who was visiting the museum at the same time that we were, generously gave me permission to use some of his photos. His name appears in their captions.

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