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Textiles, Tastes and tantalising experiences.

Photos of San Miguel Allende

Images of an interesting city.

I've had a wonderful day just wandering through streets and markets… of course I'm always looking for textiles.. and that includes heavily embroidered garments. hand woven shawls and other items of clothing.

The processes of making handmade garments is tedious and time-consuming: perhaps spinning the thread on a pre-Hispanic spindle with a clay whorl, and weaving on a primitive backstrap loom. 

If not using commercial dyes, it involves dying the thread with aniline or laboriously concocted natural dyes: sea-snail ink collected on the rocks along the seacoast by men carrying hanks of thread on their forearms and squirting the ink on them to create purple); or smashing tiny cochineal insects from the nopal cactus to make a deep magenta dye. It takes 70 to 80 thousand to make a pound!

Among the other natural dyes are indigo (blue-black), shells of “huisache” tree seeds (black), and nut shells for brown.

Oaxaca, is about 600 kms from here, but the influence is ever present. Goods made in Oaxaca, are sold in a lot of the shops here….. this is an area where many US citizens come to retire or just get away from the cold winters….

I visited the markets, stood in the street and watched a parade of tiny school children …. most of them around 4 and 5 years old. it was just charming.

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This afternoons parade was a family affair I think. Indian dancers, firecrackers as loud as gunshots. Mariachi band playing and a huge cross was born aloft by several strong men as they walked through the streets.

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It was really cold today and the sun made a brief appearance so I didn't film…. I hope it will be better tomorrow.

Unlike other parts of Mexico, there are coffee shops on every corner. Dinner tonight was a gourmet experience shared with friends I met at the hotel….

I bought some wonderful shawls today too….. I feel guilty that they are so inexpensive because I know how much work went into them…..

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I travel the world teaching and talking. Photographing and writing, Sharing experiences What a way to go.

1 Comment

  1. Chris says

    Pam, your photos are exquisite. The children were absolutely charming, the contrast between modern and traditional clothing interesting and the colours a feast for the eyes.
    I am very envious of your good fortune today and am wishing myself on your journey. Thank you for sharing with us the sights and culture of distant shores.
    I find your journey most interesting and intruiging. I find myself wondering what you will do next.
    I can just see you in the shawls. Those colours are so ‘you’!

    Like

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