"Oaxaca, Mexico: An

Expatriate Life"

Writing and

Pictures by Diana Ricci

Artisans of Oaxaca: a photo essay

Mexico in general, and most specifically Oaxaca, appeals to many tourists through its handicrafts. To people from an industrialized country, used to machine made products, it is indeed exciting to visit the pueblos (villages) and markets to watch the local artesans at work. They produce colorful, ingenious, creative, unique, decorative and often practical objects. This is a hammock maker, at the large Abastos market in Oaxaca.

**Click on an image to see enlarged photo**

Ignacio, the Rompecabeza (literally translated, head-breaker) Man makes his own puzzles. We have visited his workshop, and saw him twisting metal wire around forms, and making the same pieces as did his father before him.
A rug-weaver's floor loom, with the wool that is being used. All the wool is natural-dyed. This taller (ta-YEHR: workshop) is in Teotitlan del Valle.
The village of Santo Tomas Jalieza has traditionally devoted itself to woven belts, table place mats and purses. All work is done on a back-strap loom, as shown here.
San Martín Tilcajete is one of three communities that have become famous for painted wood carvings, called alebrijes (ah le BREE hays). The carvers used to be farmers. The figures became popular in the '80s.
This is a work of art done by Luis Valencia's son, Jorge. A household of artisans and artists, the Valencia kids learn to work with clay from early childhood. This is a piece we bought, a ribald scene in three panels that hangs on our wall in Oaxaca.

See more of Diana's photo albums

[Read a selection of "Letters From Oaxaca, Mexico"]

[Read a sample "Oaxaca / Mexico Newsletter"]