For many of us an ideal vacation involves not only traveling somewhere new, but also the opportunity to immerse ourselves in making. Stephanie Echeveste recently visited Oaxaca, Mexico to take a series of craft workshops. Here she describes the experience and provides information if you’d like to book a similar crafty trip of your own. 

UPDATE February 26, 2019: Stephanie is organizing a craft retreat in Oaxaca, Mexico this year. Get tickets and learn more details right here.

Oaxaca, Mexico has been at the top of my list as a craft destination for a while and I recently made my dream come true. Last fall I spent two months attending workshops in both Oaxaca City and Teotitlán del Valle in embroidery, weaving, and natural dyeing.

Embroidery Workshop at Miku Meko

This course was three days long and covered over 21 embroidery stitches, with a focus on using them for modern, abstract embroidery designs. I really enjoyed meeting other artists and creatives at this space and would highly recommend any workshop hosted by Miku Meko.

  • Location: Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
  • Hours: 9 hours (3 hours for 3 days)
  • Price: $38 USD
  • Size: Group, ~6 students
  • Language: Spanish

How to Book: Miku Meko hosts various courses throughout the year with local and guest teachers, so it’s best to check their Facebook page to see what is currently available.

Natural Dye Workshop with Teñido a Mano

This workshop took place at the home studio of Elsa, owner of Teñido a Mano. Her studio features a terrace with views of Oaxaca City. Elsa taught me how to dye a range of colors with all natural ingredients, including indigo, cochineal, pericón, brazil wood, and pomegranate shells. We dyed samples, not full batches, of wool yarn, which made it very manageable and easy to understand.

At the end of the workshop, we wrote out each recipe so I could repeat the process on my own. I loved spending time in her home studio and recommend this workshop, especially if you want to stay in Oaxaca city.

  • Location: Oaxaca City, Oaxaca
  • Hours:  10 hours (5 hours for 2 days)
  • Price: $200 USD, cash preferred
  • Size: Private Class
  • Language: English or Spanish

How to Book: Email Elsa at tenidoamano(a)gmail.com

Weaving Workshop with Fé y Lola

Led by master weaver Federico Chavez, the workshop covers beginning to advanced weaving.

Federico taught me how to use the loom and patiently helped me weave my own design. I was able to select from their gorgeous natural dyed yarns for my palette and weave in their home studio.

Federico would let me weave alone at my own pace until I got to a new section or needed help, which helped me practice and perfect the technique. In the background, the local village radio played and roosters crowed.

I am very happy with my final tapestry, which I finished in four days. I highly recommend this workshop if you are a weaver and want to try something new or experience a new environment.

  • Location: Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca
  • Hours: 20 hours (5 hours for 4 days)
  • Price: $400 USD, cash preferred
  • Size: Private Class
  • Language: English or Spanish, but Spanish makes it easier

How to Book:  Email Elsa at tenidoamano(a)gmail.com

Natural Dye Workshop with Porfirio Gutiérrez Family

In this workshop we dyed large loads of wool and created a whole rainbow of colors using all natural items, including roots, plants, fruits, cochineal, indigo, pericón, and moss. We did various dips of the indigo dye bath and also made greens, yellows, blues, cream, orange, red, purple, and maroon.

I was impressed by the skill of Juana Gutiérrez Contreras, who runs the household and the dye studio. Juana explained each process and how to dye, which includes creating a mordant for some dyes, creating baths, and washing the wool at the end. It was hard work and gave us a glimpse of what it takes to create enough naturally-dyed wool to supply for a whole family business. At the end, we got the full recipes for each color and dye samples.

I really enjoyed this workshop and hope I can return for a weaving workshop, which they also offer.

  • Location: Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca
  • Hours: 4 Days
  • Price: $680 USD – $2500 USD Prices vary depending on workshop and length of stay, pay via PayPal
  • Size: Two-person class with homestay
  • Language: Spanish, English assistance available

How to Book: Visit Porfirio Gutierrez Family website and inquire about your desired workshop and date for prices and availability

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