Visit Artist Families in their Home Studios & Enjoy the Oaxacan Spirit
“Nuestra Casa es Su Casa” (Our Home is Your Home)
Viewing beautiful completed pieces of Oaxacan folk art in galleries is thrilling. But there is nothing like visiting home studios to see the process of creation and meet the talented people who produce these works. In the many easily accessible pueblos that surround Oaxaca City, artists delight in welcoming you with their signature greeting, “Nuestra casa es su casa (our home is your home).”
Tourists accustomed to American standards of privacy may feel reluctant to arrive unannounced. Rest assured that in the pueblos of Oaxaca, you are expected simply to walk in if the door is open, or to make your presence known by ringing a bell or knocking loudly on a closed metal door or wooden gate, while yelling “buenos días” or “buenas tardes.”
Feel free either to make a brief stop to get the flavor of the work produced, or to linger while discussing anything that interests you — their pueblo, family, artistic techniques — or asking prices, purchasing, and/or placing orders. Do not feel obligated to purchase from all those you visit, although be forewarned; you will feel sorely tempted. Rarely have we heard people lament what they did purchase, but instead what they left behind.
Enjoy exploring and refining your own personal tastes as you sample some of our suggestions in the geographically-arranged lists:
ARTISTS IN PUEBLOS WEST OF OAXACA CITY
ARTISTS IN PUEBLOS SOUTH OF OAXACA CITY
ARTISTS IN PUEBLOS EAST OF OAXACA CITY
ARTISTS IN OAXACA CITY AND ITS ENVIRONS
and discover additional outstanding artists.
A Sampler of Pueblo Adventures
Every trip to a pueblo affords new adventures and discoveries. Sample a few:
Having hiked up a rocky and jagged incline strewn with puddles from the previous day’s late afternoon shower – an ascent too challenging for a car to negotiate – you see the entrance to a courtyard. It is populated by strutting chickens that weave in and out of lines of laundry hung to dry in the billowing wind. There is no address or name plaque to identify the spot, no signal that at any moment you will encounter an artist, often accompanied by several members of his family, engaged in various stages of inspiring artwork. A woman crafts a female figure out of clay, while her husband and daughter paint intricate designs on clothing or accessories created earlier that morning for other figures.
After driving down a bumpy road behind a herd of goats meandering in the sparkling sun, a metal gate is slightly ajar. Looking through the crack, you see a large pile of wooden fragments laid out to dry in the sun. Surrounded by wood shavings, a father carves a deer with delicate antlers out of one piece of wood, while his son decorates an already-carved reptile with brilliant colors. His wife and daughter paint the rabbit and armadillo hewn the day before.
Large patterned woven rugs wave like banners suspended from a massive but graceful arched home, encircled by its generous patio. Two vast whitewashed showrooms display a mixture of pre-Columbian patterns and woven reproductions of paintings by Diego Rivera and Escher. An expertly designed sign announces the success of this family. The click-clack of huge wooden looms is created by a man whose devotion and industriousness is apparent. He rhythmically shuttles magenta wool through neatly strung threads of other hues. In these palatial quarters, a beautiful woman sits on the floor by his side, grinding natural substances with stone implements and overseeing the preparation of dyes. Many skeins waiting to be dyed are nearby, carded and spun by their daughter the previous day.