Each day is carefully curated to connect with the art and spirit of Oaxaca while creating the space and providing the guidance to cultivate your artistic practice. Truly the experience of a lifetime!
The first morning, we'll set out on field trip to the Sierra Norte mountains where we'll spend the day in the silk-making village of San Pedro Cajonos.
At beautiful new Sanctuario de Gusano de Seda (Silkworm Sanctuary), the artisans and their families will guide us through the entire silk-making process, from cultivating the worms to spinning, weaving on backstrap looms and empuntado, the intricate knotting used to finish gorgeous handmade scarves and garments.
Master Dyer Moisés Martínez Velasco will lead us in a workshop session using natural materials (pericón, cochineal, and indigo) to dye handspun silk threads from the village. We invite you to bring cloth or other materials to dye and use in our embroidery throughout the week.
Each participant will receive 15 grams of handspun silk thread to dye with natural materials. Additional silk threads - as well as gorgeous silk garments - will be available for purchase at the Silkworm Sanctuary store.
While our threads are being steeped in color, we will share lunch with the artisans and learn more about how their lives and craft has changed in the last ten years.
Late afternoon. we'll depart for El Carrizal, a mountain village, where we'll enjoy a home-cooked dinner prepared with locally grown, organic ingredients.
That night, we'll stay in wood-fired heated cabins and tuck into bed with our bellies and imaginations full, warmed by the light of a wood fire for a good night's sleep.
We have a whole day to soak up the scenery that will surely leave an impression. Surrounded by giant agaves, wildflowers, and mountain views, we'll spend some time exploring the natural beauty of this area.
We'll put our needles into action with a nature-inspired creativity workshop session with Carolyn where we will sketch and stitch textures and shapes to capture the feel of the landscape.
In this village of wheat farmers and bakers, we will get to enjoy food made with simple ingredients grown in the fields surrounding us and a whole lot of love from our hosts, Dahlela and her family.
Day 4. Stitching Tradition: Shape and Form
Master Embroiderer Virginia Alvarez Juarez and Esteban Rodriguez from San Bartolome Ayutla will join us in the studio to teach the incredible stencil and stitch technique for which her town is known. Fanciful imagery is boldly outlined and then filled in with dense satin stitching, resulting in brilliant color and textural form.
In the half-day workshop with Virginia, we will learn the technique and translate it into our unique designs. This workshop exercise presents an opportunity to discuss issues of appropriation vs. appreciation.
Carolyn and Miriam will lead us on a walking tour of Oaxaca's vibrant art and textile scene. We will visit the Textile Museum of Oaxaca, San Pablo Cultural Center, meet street artist Luis Alonso, who “paints with thread,” and visit slow fashion stores that incorporate hand embroidery.
We will see contemporary artworks and functional items deeply rooted in tradition, often striking a balance of personal expression and community identity. The day showcases the diversity, range, and innovation in traditional textiles and design.
After enjoying lunch in a sunlit courtyard with sketchbooks in hand, we'll have time in the afternoon to explore what we'll create together. Carolyn and Miriam will also share some basic embroidery techniques to help anyone new or interested in refreshing their foundations.
Day 6. Stitching Tradition: Geometry and Mathematics
Exploring the geometric shapes of the Sierra Norte, embroidery artisans Ali and Conchis Ramirez Lopez will join us in the studio. The embroidery style from their region layers geometric shapes to create depth and visual complexity.
Like many women in Oaxaca, Ali and Conchis wear many hats and also run a trout farm and restaurant in the mountains which we will enjoy for lunch.
In the afternoon, you will have free time to relax, embroider, and integrate what we learned before we hit the streets of Oaxaca in the manana.
Day 7. Stitching Tradition: Deshilado
Getting deeper into the stitching traditions of Oaxaca, we will learn the art of deshilado, open-thread embroidery, from our very own Miriam Campos. Deshilado is a process in which you remove all of the threads in one direction of a cloth, then use supplementary threads to wrap and weave through the remaining threads to create intricate patterns.
For the workshop session, we'll travel to Miram's home, where her family has been creating floral embroidery and deshilado pieces for more than 4 generations.
In San Antonino Castillo Velasco, we'll enjoy lunch at a local comedor and a group dinner together on our way back to Oaxaca that evening.
Day 8: Stitching Through Time: Monte Alban
For those that want to dip deeper into Oaxaca's ancient history, we'll take a field trip to Monte Alban, the most important archaeological site of the Valley of Oaxaca which dates back more than 2000 years.
We'll enjoy a guided tour to understand the Zapotec civilization who flattened a mountain to build this stunning site and find some shady spots to stitch while we are there. We'll grab lunch in the city and have the rest of the day free to create, explore, or eat more!
Day 9. Taking It With You: Studio Day
This full day of open studio will allow you to focus on your pieces wherever you like to work.
Carolyn and Miriam will be available in the studio to answer questions. This is a time to visually wrap up and stitch down your thoughts - whatever it is you want to remember or whatever it is you want to share.
Lunch is on your own. We will regroup for dinner together.
Day 10. Intercambio: Learning Exchange
Start your morning however you like, whether it's continuing with your stitching or just taking it easy to soak in the trip's experiences.
In the early afternoon, we'll gather in the studio to get ready for the party. Everyone can set out their works, no matter what stage they're at. We'll catch up with our teachers and share our work with the artisans who've inspired us.
Inside this lovely space filled with our creations, we'll enjoy an Oaxaca-style celebration. There'll be art, delicious food, mezcal, music, and, of course, the chance to make new friends.
It was amazing. All the artisans we worked with were so kind, patient and helpful. I learned so much!
- Stephanie, California; 2023 & 2021 attendee
I really saw a side of Oaxaca that I had not seen on previous trips. Time with the artisans was fantastic.
- Melanie, Washington, DC; 2023 attendee
"It was amazing!! I can’t stop thinking and talking about this trip. It was my first time in Oaxaca and I left so inspired!"
- Elena, Michigan; 2023 attendee
What is Covered on Trip
This trip of 10-12 participants begins with dinner on January 4th and ends the evening of January 14th, our Guelaguetza celebration.
Most meals (breakfasts, one lunch, and dinners on three evenings are on your own), two nights in mountain cabins on January 5 & 6, tours and guides, transport, activities, and workshop fees are included.
From January 7-15, we have a gorgeous four bedroom artist residence with rooftop terrace available for six participants (2 singles, 4 doubles) that is only a few blocks from Carolyn’s studio where our workshops and creative time will be spent. Fruit, yogurt, bread, and coffee will be available in the kitchen.
Gratuity for all meals and services are included. Alcohol during meals, souvenirs, and some optional activities are not included.
Price & Payment Schedule
The price of this 10 day/ 10 night trip per person* :
- $3000.00 USD Single Room with double bed (2 spots)
- $2600.00 USD Double Occupancy with Two Beds (4 spots)
- $2000.00 USD Local, No Accommodation (6 spots)
Lodging (except in mountains) is not included for local participants, but we will provide a list of hotels in Xochimilco near our studio space to those interested. We do not provide accommodation the night of January 4th, but will provide a list of recommended hotels that are convenient for our early departure on January 5th.
Payments for the trip shall be made in full, and include the NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT of $500 so we can reserve accommodations, transportation and artisan workshops.
How to Join
Apply today to join us this January! If you secure your spot with payment by September 30th, you'll enjoy a $100 discount on this embroidery experience.
We review each application to get to know each participant and give us insight to create the best experience for each group. Once we've reviewed your application, we'll reach out ASAP to schedule a call, answer questions and send payment info. We use Stripe as our payment processor.
We will fill the trip in the order of payments received.
Payment plans are available on a case-by-case basis. Please send an e-mail to email@example.com an email to explore this option.
Refunds for cancellations will be returned on the following schedule:
- 120+ days before the start of the trip, 80% refund (total minus deposit);
- 90-120 days before, 60% refund (total minus $1000);
- 60-90 days before, 40% refund (total minus $1500);
- 30-60 days before, 20% refund (total minus $2000);
- 30 days before, no refund available
Miriam Campos Cornelio, Artist & Workshop Co-Leader
Miriam Campos is a 3rd generation embroidery artist from San Antonino Castillo Velasco in Oaxaca. She and her family are known for their signature designs and colorful floral embroidery used in their traditional clothing. Miriam's mother Reyna Cornelio, grandmother Virginia Sanchez, and all her aunts are established designers and embroiderers. Miriam has exhibited in museums nationally and internationally including the Rufino Tamayo Museum in Oaxaca, Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, New York Botanical Garden, and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.
Carolyn Kallenborn, Artist & Workshop Co-Leader
Carolyn Kallenborn, Professor Emerita from the University of Wisconsin, is an internationally acclaimed artist working with textiles, film, installation, and community projects. She has 25 years of university teaching experience, leading students in collaboration and developing a personal creative practice. She has traveled extensively to research traditional and contemporary textiles and artisan projects. Kallenborn has been teaching, learning, and collaborating with artisans in Oaxaca since 2004. She has been a cultural, artistic, and technical guide for students, interns, academics, artists, and artisans. Through exhibitions and her documentary films Woven Lives and La Vida y Los Muertos, she helped introduce Oaxacan artisans to the international art community.
Kim Hunter, Tour Leader & Textile Lover
Over several trips to Oaxaca, my husband and I have cultivated rich relationships with the land, people, culture, & cuisine of Oaxaca. Our passions have evolved into a business, Traveling Traders Bazaar, which offers hands-on, immersive tours into this fascinating region of the world. Deeply curious, appreciative of cultural differences and interpersonal engagement, we believe that by experiencing different cultures, we gain a greater understanding of the world, our place in it, and the better future that we can build together. It's in this spirit that we share the Oaxaca that we know & love with you.