The reports are in regarding tourism during the Guelaguetza and, unfortunately, they confirm our observations and discussions with merchants, restaurateurs, and hoteliers. Hotel occupancy was only at 53% and tourism was 37 points below estimates for the period, July 22 to August 1. Artisans had to pay 2,600 pesos (US$138.00) for a stall at the state sponsored, Encuentro Artesanal Guelaguetza (exposition and sale), which ran from July 16 to August 1, and many said they barely broke even, especially when taking into consideration expenses getting to and from the site and having to purchase meals.
However, I tried my very best to help the local economy throughout Guelaguetza. As regular readers know, I love the textiles of Oaxaca and thus I have a few new treasures hanging in my closet. First, this modern take by Muchitos on the traditional huipil.
I purchased it at Letra Capital, a 4-day contemporary design market, held in the courtyards of the Biblioteca Pública Central de Oaxaca.
And, then there was this traditional huipil woven by Juana Reyes García from San Juan Colorado, Oaxaca, and purchased at the 4-day Tianguis Artesanal at the Centro Cultural San Pablo.
Juana has been recognized for her work using natural dyes and has won several prizes.
Then there was the tunic-length (at least on me) blusa from one of the extraordinary embroiderers of San Antonino Castillo Velasco — bought at the above-mentioned Encuentro Artesanal Guelaguetza.
I have been wanting one for years and years. However, whenever I’m in San Antonino, it’s usually for a festival or during Día de los Muertos and, while there are stalls upon stalls selling blouses and dresses, I’m distracted by the event at hand — never mind, that I don’t usually carry enough money to pay for one of these treasures. Isn’t the work exquisite?
I’ve already worn all three of my new textile treasures several times. And, that wasn’t the end of my shopping spree. My other big splurge was commissioning a tapete from my friend, Samuel Bautista Lazo’s family business, Dixza Rugs. They had a stall at the Encuentro Artesanal Guelaguetza and a rug I fell in love with. Alas, it was too big, so they are making me a smaller one. Sam has promised it will be done within a month. Blog post to follow!