Gracias Oaxaca, por ti tenemos un corazón más grande!
Words cannot truly explain what our eyes were able to witness; the mountains, the beautiful colors, culture, kind and generous people, amazing food, beautiful weather, but we will do our best to document our most recent adventure! Tierra is a place that wants to bring Mexico a tu casa. We also want to do it in the most respectfully and socially sustainable way. That is how we opened our doors and how we will continue to bring pieces to you. Through our journey in Oaxaca this is what keeps us aligned, this is what helps us choose and this is how pursue growth.
A city filled with culture and color, we are incredibly grateful to be in a place that represented artisanal living in the light that it did. We now understand why this state is respected and sought out for food, culture and mezcal!
Once we arrived we made ourselves comfortable with our new location and walked around the streets to get to know a new part of Mexico. We walked into a quaint coffee shop, SHO to have a v-60 cup of coffee. The travel part to Oaxaca was intense and needed to find our balance back. We continued our walk and headed to PAN:AM and ate the most delicious pastries! We noticed how intentional food was curated here and how artisanal each piece was. Inspired by the bread and cafe at PAN:AM, we continued to brainstorm for the week and for El Grito.
Later into the night we kicked off our trip with authentic food del Istmo at Zandunga, can I just say this place was so good we came here twice! Our menu included garnachas, tamales de elote, queso oaxaqueño, y mezcal.
We woke up early the next day and met with our driver and guide Solomon. He was truly a gift to us during this trip. We will always be grateful towards Solomon and his duty as a true Oaxacan guide. He heard of my store and mission and made it his own mission for me to find the families and places we were looking for.
As we drove outside Oaxaca City we made our first stop in San Bartolo Coyotepec. A town dedicated to creating black polished pottery using mesoamerican tools and rituals. We learned the process of how each sculpture is made using pure creativity and traditional practices. No stencils, no pre-drawing... all talent. Amazed by how history and culture permeated into art and design. It was here that we found the most beautiful mezcal cups to serve you at our El Grito brunch!
We then made it to our next stop, San Martin Tilcajete, where we learned about how Alebrijes are made. A Mixtec-Zapotec iconography is introduced to each piece, making each design completely unique from the last. Wood used by trees planted more than 30 years ago, each design is made up by the artisan using handmade tools to cut and mold beautiful designs that can take months or years to finish. It was here that we took our time to find the most beautiful alebrijes, and to appreciate how each design is created by more than one person.
We finally made our way to our last stop, a pueblo called San Antonino Castillo Velasco. This was a very important stop for us because we were excited about the possibilities of finding families here. Solamon was a pure blessing, he told me over this lovely lunch place where we had quesadillas y tasajo, what my goal was with this particular town. I informed him and he said we will find them so let’s hurry and eat because we are running close to dinner!
Once we arrived, Salomon had a friend that he knew of that work the San Antonino design, he asked me if he could take me to her, I said of course! As soon as we came in we were greeted with smiles and acceptance. We began our long conversation with Senora Maria Luisa and her daughter with hopes of starting our new working relationship. We saw their samples and spoke with them on how to create a sustainable bridge between Tierra and Oaxaca. More importantly, what our values were, asked our questions, visited their taller and bought the samples that were available to bring to you! We left that town with full hearts and a new exciting venture for Tierra.
The following day we made our way to the wonderful town of El Tule. A short stop to appreciate one of earth's largest trees! We were taken aback by the beauty of this town and the tranquility it gave us and its people. Soon after we made it to Teotitlan del Valle, a municipal known for its rugs and intricate textiles made with natural colors of the earth. We learned SO MUCH! We felt like scientists, from learning about cochinilla, indigo, and even purple onion. Discovering and creating beautiful colors to then create an amazing work of textile art.
Most of the day was also spent visiting el centro de Tlacolula and surrounding towns in search of artisan rug makers. We ended the long day visiting San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya, an agave farm where we learned how Mezcal was grown, cooked, and then distilled. We tasted different kinds of mezcal and enjoyed each other's company after a successful couple of days in Oaxaca.
We also made our way to Mitla, Oaxaca where we meet the most loving family that invited us to their taller and provided us with agua de melon. After our two hour visit, we celebrated with Mezcal to solidify our new partnership, Senor Emiliano y Senora Delfina were the gift that ended this trip.
Tierra friends, we cannot thank you enough for allowing our store to stay open. For coming to the East End week after week to find new items or to come to our events. No words are enough to thank you for this. We commit to bringing Mexico a tu casa, because it lives in us and in you, even if we are far from it. More importantly, we believe that social sustainability begins with the trade. Each trade at any place for us, is always fair-trade. The loss will always be ours and never theirs.
Come and see us soon, Oaxaca awaits you.
Con mucho carino,