Venture to the land of Oaxaca, México, where things move slower and there is an intrinsic awareness of making things by hand. For this special ceramics trip, Thread Caravan and Innovando la Tradición are teaming up to take travelers deep into clay processes: from harvesting dirt from the earth and turning it into workable material, to molding shapes with our hands, to a truly unique firing process in a remote mountain area. When we're not deep in clay, we'll experience the other specialties unique to Oaxaca: cuisine, mezcal, markets and more.
*photos by Kelly Framel, Lea Wright Leah Pellegrini and Caitlin Ahern
WHERE WE'LL GO
SANTO DOMINGO Y RIO BLANCO TONALTEPEC
Santo Domingo and Rio Blanco Tonaltepec are located in the mountains of the Mixteca Alta. Only 28 families live among clay and wood, which makes a very warm and charming community -- the long distances are not an issue to keep this spirit.
The families Innovando la Tradición has worked with since 2013 have been able to bridge the gap between their small village and the global market, showing their work in places like Australia and Denmark.
In addition to this, both towns and the region are part of the only 4 geological parks in all of Latin America.
...and two more towns specializing in unique ceramics processes!
ABOUT OUR PARTNERS
Innovando la Traditión is a long-term social design project, a non profit organization, and a multidisciplinary, multicultural network focused on revitalizing the tradition of Oaxacan pottery by supporting the artisans that have kept it alive for centuries.
Barro Adentro (Deep in Clay) is a program by Innovando la Tradición to help you experience one of the most important cultural expressions of Oaxaca while supporting its future. Their goal is to create meaningful relationships between people through cultural exchange and awareness about pottery and the world around it. With your trip payment, you support potters to create better work conditions.
We will be announcing 2020 dates as soon as possible. In the meantime, please contact us if you’d like to suggest dates, or join our wait list at the bottom of this page.
PRICING + PAYMENT:
$1,900 (can be paid in full, or in three separate installments including a $500 non-refundable deposit)
Pricing is based on double-occupancy accommodation. A limited quantity of private rooms are available at an additional $450 cost.
Thread Caravan offers discounts to POC, students, teachers and guests from the countries in which workshops are being hosted. You can find more information and apply or donate to the program via our Inclusivity page.
In-Country Transportation: Thread Caravan covers all transportation within Oaxaca city, as soon as you arrive at the airport until you depart. We'll be taking a mix of shuttles and taxis.
All Meals: From street food to fine dining, you're taste buds will thank you for indulging in Mexican cuisine. We are able to accommodate vegetarians and other specialty diets, just let us know in advance.
Education + Supplies: We offer a fair wage to ceramics instructors, guides and other trip partners.
Boutique Hotel Accommodation: Our group will be staying at a boutique bed and breakfast with lots of plants and tasteful local decor. Because the bed and breakfast is a small boutique establishment, rooms will be double occupancy. If you're traveling with a friend you'd like to share a room with, please let us know. ***Single-occupancy accommodation is available at an extra cost.
Extra Excursions: We'll be venturing to Hierve el Agua, natural spring-fed infinity pools on the side of a cliff, as well as markets and other Oaxaca staples.
Carbon Emissions Offset: We’ve partnered with Trees for the Future to plant 50 tress on your behalf in order to offset the carbon emissions of your travel to Mexico. Please contact us if you’d like us to plant additional trees on your behalf.
Support: We will have a local and foreign guide accompanying the group, offering participants their combined knowledge of the country, while making sure everything runs smoothly. In addition, Thread Caravan staff is available to answer questions and assist with trip preparations.
Alcoholic Drinks: Thread Caravan does not cover the cost of alcoholic beverages
Airfare: We've found that flights from the U.S. to Oaxaca range from approximately $350 - $700 depending on the airline and how far in advance you book. *Tip: It is often more affordable to fly to Mexico City and then take a separate flight to Oaxaca. We are happy to help you arrange transportation to Oaxaca or put you in touch with a travel agent.
Personal Travel Insurance: We require all participants to have personal travel insurance. This will cover things like illness, flight cancellations, theft, etc. We can help you arrange insurance with a provider.
GETTING THERE AND AWAY:
The Thread Caravan + Innovando la Tradición ceramics trip starts and ends at the airport in Oaxaca, Mexico. You get there and we'll handle the rest. If you need help booking a flight, please contact us.
We ask that all travelers arrive before 5pm on the trip start day to ensure making our group dinner and orientation. If you choose to extend your trip beyond the workshop dates, we are happy to suggest accommodation and activities for your extra days.
Vaccinations: Routine vaccinations, Hepatitis A and Typhoid are suggested by the Center for Disease Control. If you are traveling from a country with Yellow Fever, it is required that you have a Yellow Fever vaccination.
VISA: A VISA is not required for citizens of the United States if traveling to Mexico for under 180 days. If you are a citizen of another country you can check VISA requirements here.
Passport Validity: In order to enter Mexico, your passport must be valid for at least 90 days following your departure date. You must also have at least one blank page in your passport.
¿PREGUNTAS? CONTACT US.
Words from Past Travelers:
"My favorite part of the trip was participating in the pit firing process and staining technique in Tonaltepec. The process is very unique and we worked with one of the only remaining families that does it."
"It's hard to choose a favorite day from this TC trip, but I don’t think I’ll forget traveling to Atzompa anytime soon! It was fascinating getting to see the ceramics process from start to finish - from going in to the mines and actually mining clay, to then seeing these potters mold that same clay in to something useful and/or uniquely beautiful. The whole experience felt authentic and complete, and you really walk away with an appreciation for these potters and this craft."