A Hands-On Immersion in the Culture and Textile Traditions of Oaxaca

Join us for Woven Lives Oaxaca: Following the Thread, a fascinating, 7-day journey  where we will witness the art of weaving in Oaxaca and its transformation over the past fifteen years by the forces of global communication and artisan tourism. We will visit artisans in their studios, study their work up close, and learn techniques in hands-on workshops. 

This textile tour offers an insider’s view of the development of artistic practice and artisan entrepreneurship over the past two decades. Carolyn Kallenborn, maker of the film Woven Lives: Contemporary Textiles from Ancient Oaxaca Traditions (2010), and social designer Ana Paula Fuentes, Founding Director of the Textile Museum of Oaxaca, will be your guides in this journey.

Apply to join us this May!

Link to the Past, Moving to the Future

On this trip, we will revisit the artisans featured in Carolyn’s 2010 documentary Woven Lives: Contemporary Textiles from Ancient Oaxacan Traditions, where artisans talked about their connections to the past and hopes for the future.

Since then, there have been significant shifts in the artisan world: global visual communication through the internet; the trending of  artisanal products; generational change; booming tourism in Oaxaca, and an increasing interest in collaborative projects between artisans and people outside of their communities.

Throughout, we will have a chance to discuss these changes with the artisans and the challenges and opportunities that have come with them.

Inspired to slow down

This artistic immersion was developed as slow tourism.  Inspired by the rural Oaxacan lifestyle  in which it is common to use long, slow processes to visit, cook, walk and make. We hope to infuse a shift from a lifestyle of rushing and accomplishing to a slower pace giving you time to enjoy the beauty around you, to learn and to make, and to find moments of joy and inspiration.

Connect with Master Artisans

We will visit studios, take workshops, and talk with master artisans and their families. We will see a range of entrepreneurial structures and methods of small-scale production. They will share innovative and traditional techniques and individual perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of the last decade. We will discuss the ethical practices of working with traditional artisans and imagery during our time together. 

  • Explore

    and gain an understanding and appreciation for the colorful history, culture, and techniques of Oaxaca.

  • Connect

    with master artisans through hands-on making

  • Reflect

    on interconnections of making, identity and culture

  • Carolyn Kallenborn, Artist & Tour/ 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.

  • Ana Paula Fuentes, Social Designer & Tour/Workshop Co-Leader

    Ana Paula Fuentes is a photographer and social designer whose work centers on Mexican culture. Originally from Mexico City, Ana has lived in Oaxaca since 2005 and was the founding director of the Textile Museum of Oaxaca. As a social designer, Ana has worked with various non-profit organizations, artisans, designers, and cooperatives in Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Chiapas. She was also the director of the CADA Foundation, which supports cultural heritage and identity. Ana has led tours as a cultural guide in Mexico since 2013. Throughout her work, she weaves connections between foreigners and locals, emphasizing cultural sensitivity and respect.

  • What is Covered on Trip

    In Oaxaca City, we are staying at Casona del Llano  in a beautiful hotel right next to El Llano Park in the historic center of Oaxaca. The hotel is a short walk to countless quaint coffee shops and restaurants and historic areas. We offer both single and double rooms, each with a private bathroom.
    Lodging, tours, transport, activities, and workshop fees are included. Lunch is included every day, 4 dinners and 3 breakfasts are also included.  Alcohol during meals, souvenirs, and some optional activities are not included. ​Lodging is not included for local participants.
    Meals Included:
    - Breakfast is provided during the day trip to San Pedro Cajonos (we leave early that day!) and both mornings in Teotitlan.
    - Lunch is included every day.
    - Dinners included: Welcome Dinner, two nights of dinners in Teotitlan and Farewell Dinner.
    - For meals not included you will have a chance to explore the rich culinary diversity in the city of Oaxaca.
    [THE FLIGHT TO OAXACA and ground transportation ($15 each way) to & from Oaxaca International Airport (OAX) to Oaxaca City is not included. Please make travel arrangements to be able to join us in Oaxaca for dinner on Wednesday, August 16th.
  • Price & Payment Schedule

    We have several options to participate in our workshop tour based on accommodations with a single room (with partner option), double occupancy room (2 participants), or local participant. 
    Accommodations are included for 8 nights, with check-in on May 15 and check out on the morning of May 23.  Six nights we will be at Casona del Llano, Oaxaca City. We will stay two nights at Casa Elim in Teotitlan del Valle. 
    • There is an option of a single room at Casona del Llano in Oaxaca City.
    • All rooms at Casa Elim are shared, two people to a room, each with their own double bed.
    Please select which option you would like below:
    $2450.00 USD Single Occupancy  at Casona del Llano in Oaxaca (6 nights). Double occupancy at Casa Elim in Teotitlan (2 nights).
    $2150.00 USD Double Occupancy for whole trip.
    $1750.00 USD Local, No Accommodation (limited availability)
    Single occupancy means your own room with one double bed.
    Double occupancy means two beds in one room each with their own double bed.
    Local means you live locally and do not need accommodations.
    We do offer an add on of $750 to have your partner stay and be included in Oaxaca walking tour and group dinners.
  • How to Join

    EACH person must fill out an application to participate. 

    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 provide more information and discuss next steps.
    We will fill the trip in the order of payments received.

    APPLY TODAY if you are interested and get your spot on the list.

    Payment plans are available on a case-by-case basis. Please send an e-mail to kim@travelingtradersbazaar.com an email to explore this option.
    Refund and Payment Policy: 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. 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;
    60-90 days before, 40% refund;
    30-60 days before, 20% refund;
    30 days before, no refund available

Woven Lives

The film Woven Lives, made in 2010 provides a cultural and historical background to the textile craft traditions in Oaxaca. Woven Lives, created and produced in 2010, by Carolyn Kallenborn, with the support of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Textile Museum of Oaxaca, examines how traditional art and design play an active role in the cultural sustainability of the Zapotec communities in Oaxaca. The documentary  traces the development of the weaving process from the first people in the valley to the present day. The story blends the perspectives of art, design, business, history, ethnic studies and cultural anthropology. While the textiles are the centerpiece of the film, it highlights the life around the production which creates connection to the culture, the community, the past and the future. 

The film is distributed through Art Films Limited, has shown in international film festivals and is included in the curriculum of many universities in Mexico, U.S.A.  and other parts of the world.