Oaxaca Textiles: A Collector’s Item

We’re in full production mode for our two new books due out in October. One is Eric Mindling’s book of gorgeous photographs and vignettes of the people and cloth of Oaxaca, Mexico. The book is an invitation to view the world as perhaps you never have—you will love what you see. In our second book, Sheri Brautigam offers another invitation—to travel with her to markets and fiestas in Mexico, collecting textiles along the way. You will want her as your travel guide, guaranteed. More about these books soon, I promise.

TextileMuseumOaxacaGiven all this attention to Mexico, it seems only appropriate to feature as this month’s textile museum, the Museo Textil de Oaxaca.

In 2006, the Alfredo Harp Helú Foundation bought a historic home and the nearby former convent of San Pablo as part of a larger project to restore the historic center of Oaxaca City. Part of that restoration included a vision to create a gathering place for people to explore culture, tradition, craft, and contemporary design. That vision became the Textile Museum of Oaxaca.

In the historic center of Oaxaca City, in an eighteenth-century mansion, you’ll find the Textile Museum. It is a force in the rich textile world of Mexico. It houses, not just a world-class textile collection, but presents beautiful exhibitions, offers classes in a broad spectrum of fiber arts, and is home to a significant restoration workshop. The Textile Museum also presents frequent demonstrations by local artisans and provides them an opportunity to sell their work.


The Textile Museum has a wonderful selection of exhibitions on display year-round. Currently, they’re featuring Honey and Wine, Thread and Needle: Wonders of the Maguey that represents textiles made with sisal fiber in various communities in Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador. Past exhibitions have included everything from collections of traditional Oaxacan textiles to liturgical textiles from four continents.

A piece from the Honey and Wine, Thread and Needle: Wonders of the Maguey exhibition on view at the Museum through May.


The MTO houses six large private textile collections, with several hundred pieces in each. These collections were donated to the Museum. The Alfredo Harp Helú Foundation, which sponsored the acquisition and restoration of the building that houses the Museum, and pays operating expenses, also has contributed numerous pieces to the collection from Mexico and from across the globe.

A rebozo, or shawl, from a recent exhibition at the Museum.


The Museum organizes a variety of courses, inviting teachers and textile artists from Oaxaca, Mexico, and other countries to share their techniques with the Museum’s visitors, the general public, as well as other textile artists. These courses often address specific needs of artisans, such as design or natural dyeing.

Of course, the ideal is to visit Oaxaca City and enjoy all the textile delights on offer at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca. But if you can’t, you can keep apprised of their upcoming events on their excellent website–and practice your Spanish, too. Each month, the website features the Pieza del Mes, the Piece of the Month, highlighting a piece from one of the collections, which is well worth the trip!

This month’s pieza del mes is a cotton embroidered sampler from 1848.

All photographs used by kind permission of the Museo Textil de Oaxaca.


Malcare WordPress Security