Touring from Oaxaca to Ocotlan
- Price from:
- 60 USD /person
- Payment Types:
- Credit Card
- Travellers cheque
- Wire Transfer
- Location Start:
- your hotel or B & B
- Location Finish:
- your hotel or B & B
- Start time:
- 09.00 am
- End time:
- 07.00 pm
- We Speak:
Last updated: 05/19/2008
Black pottery, cotton textiles and carved wooden animals: These villages and many more stops are included in our tour taking you to the famed Ocotlán marketplace and the town's several other sights.
The following tour route is offered by Alvin Starkman through Casa Machaya Oaxaca Bed & Breakfast, and may be booked
1) Black pottery village of San Bartolo Coyotepec, with demonstration of the technique and its history by (usually) Don Valente Nieto, son of the late Doña Rosa who developed the method subsequently followed by other villagers. At your option, for those interested in gallery quality black pottery pieces with strong provocative imagery, a stop by the showroom of Carlomagno Pedro Martínez director of the town museum, is a must. For those who yearn for unique hand-crafted jewelry pieces, for 30 years town resident Armando Lozano has been making one-of-a-kind bronze pieces using attractive acid-induced accent shades in green and aquamarine his workshop is close to Doña Rosa's, and therefore well worth a brief stop.
2) San Martín Tilcajete, a village known for its wooden hand-carved and brilliantly painted animals often generically referred to as alebrijes. Visits to a number of workshops illustrating differences in qualities and subject matter. For those interested in collector-quality pieces, arrangements can be made to visit the workshop of arguably the best in the state, Jacobo and María Angeles, for a most fascinating demonstration of the utility of natural pigments for paints, the different uses of the male and female copal tree including trunk, bark and sap, the importance of Zapotec designs for symbolism, etc. If traveling with children, arrangements can be made to visit another workshop where the youngsters can select their favorite animal and paint a carving of it for a nominal fee just provide details in advance (and yes, we have a car-seat for the infants and toddlers).
3) Cotton textile pueblito of Santo Tomás Jalieza, where women weave table runners, placements, purses and much more using a back strap loom, and are quite adept at their clothing embroidering skills as well. There's also a factory which supplies higher end hotels and restaurants throughout the country with tablecloths, bedspreads, draperies, etc, where you can place special orders your choice of color and pattern, 100% cotton or a 90/10 blend for greater ease of washing, size, and so on or choose from a broad range of product on hand. You'll have a fascinating demonstration of the steps in the production process. Just off the main highway approaching Ocotlán is a workshop in San Antonino which sells cotton hand embroidered (and hand stitched using other techniques) shirts, blouses and dresses, with quality of workmanship a bit above the rest you'll find in the city and villages.
4) The homes and workshops of the Aguilar sisters whose mother first began making brightly painted clay figures at age 11, in the 1940s now a fourth generation is continuing the tradition. With the passage of time the diversity of figurines and imagery has expanded to include representations of Day of the Dead, Catholic religious themes, whimsical figures with strong sexual images, and townspeople at market and in traditional regional dress fired in the most primitive of clay brick hearths.
5) The combined home and gallery of the late Maestro of contemporary Oaxacan art, Rodolfo Morales, and his large fresco mural in the central square (zócalo) of the town of Ocotlán there's also a museum which includes original art from the Conquest period and by the Maestro.
6) The knifemaking workshop of Angel Aguilar, who learned his craft brought to the New World from Toledo, Spain, from his ancestors. Only recycled metals are used to produce the knives and other weapons, cutlery, and more. His oven is made of stone and clay. Enjoy a fascinating demonstration of the techniques and materials used in making both blades and handles. Awe-inspiring even for those with little or no interest in the subject matter. Watch Angel engrave a piece with a name, rhyme or limerick of your choosing.
7) On Fridays, the marketplace of Ocotlán where locals from the hinterland come to buy virtually all of their worldly needs includes a handicraft market.
OPTIONAL (while none of the foregoing is etched in stone, other sites can be visited as well subject to time and particular interests such as):
**16th Century church and monastery complex at Cuilapam noted for its expansiveness, and the fact that construction ceased with escalation of a dispute between The Church and the Cortés family. Apart from some restoration in the 1950s, there has been no important modification since the 1580s.
**Cochineal ranch, museum and research station where you'll learn the history and importance of this tiny bug which attaches itself to its host, the nopal cactus, and when harvested and dried produces the strongest and most brilliant natural red dye known to mankind used today in dying rugs from the region and in a diversity of products such as yoghurt, Campbell soup, campari, as well as makeup and lipsticks. The tour includes watching a short video explaining the historical importance of this Oaxacan industry from Conquest times through the mid 19th century, for North America, Europe and the Far East).
Your guide, Alvin Starkman, has a masters degree in social anthropology, as well as having traveled extensively throughout the central valleys of Oaxaca since 1991. He has the following additional qualifications and background experience:
*Oaxaca destination expert for an international travel website.
*Author of over 60 articles about Oaxaca and environs for both local and international magazines and newspapers, as well as travel websites.
*Special consultant to the executive producer and on-site production team, for 2C Media, in October / November, 2007, for the Oaxaca Day of The Dead television show (FestQuest series) which first aired on The Travel Channel December 17, 2007.
*Special assistant to the executive producer and on-site production team, for Echo Entertainment, Inc., in February / March 2008, for The Veria Network's Oaxaca segment of its sustainable living television series entitled Under the Sun.
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Email the tour operator - Touring from Oaxaca to Ocotlan
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