Art Date: Day of the Dead in Oaxaca Mexico (shopping for hand-made, embroidered blouses)

Day of the Dead, or Dia de Los Muertos, is a festive time here in Mexico. It’s a spiritual celebration of All Souls Day, with midnight picnics at elaborately decorated grave sites in the cemetery.

There is so much to share about this holiday, I’ll break it up over several posts. I need to rush out and take more photos!


One of the flower stalls in the 20 de Noviembre market.

Right now, they are all heaped up with many varieties of marigolds and these fushia-red flowers which I do not know the name of.


Skeletons, or Catrinas, are decorated and dressed up in local finery. Oaxaca is famous for it’s textiles and elaborate uses of flowers in the hair.


I’ve been hanging out with my friend, Lisa this week, visiting from Seattle. All of the festive clothing has us in the mood for blouse shopping.


Trying on blouses in the street. (over my long-sleeved striped shirt, which is throwing the whole look off). Women spend many days and cutting and assembling cotton blouses, and sometime weeks embroidering on single top. Hand made at it’s finest! While there are lots of shops that sell the blouses, I like to buy them from the women who make them.

I did not buy this turquoise number, and regret it. I hope I see it again…


I adore navy with the gold metallic thread. I didn’t buy this one, either. I’ll show you in a moment which one I chose.


There’s my friend Lisa, sporting a traditional hand woven and embroidered huipil. What do you think of Catrina’s cross of paper flowers as a say-something hat?

Next: I’ll show you the blouse I purchased, but first…let me climb up into this niche in the wall.


Warning: If you travel with me, I might just climb up into an empty niche in a side of building. I’m climbing in here trying not to get my new (white!) blouse dirty.

Does it seem like I’m still that tomboy I was back in grade school? Yes. I am.


Since I’m in a niche, why not strike a saintly pose? I hope my various dearly departed Catholic Polish grandmothers are not finding this sacrilegious in any way. This is what happens when you grow up staring at lots of gory bloody saint imagery. At least, this is what happened to me.


My best angel pose. So. What do you think of the blouse?

xoxo from Oaxaca City, Mexico.


p.s. Art dates and creative practice are the two main things that keep my inner artist humming. A brand new session of Creative +Practice, my popular online class, is open now. Come check it out.

p.p.s. Want to come to Oaxaca and celebrate Day of the Dead while making a totally unique travel journal? This is for you: Creative Passport to Mexico’s Day of the Dead

11 Responses to Art Date: Day of the Dead in Oaxaca Mexico (shopping for hand-made, embroidered blouses)

  1. Marci November 8, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    Oh Lisa, I LOVE that blouse!! I created embroidered jeans and blouses when I was in high school. I may have to take my hoop and thread out again.

    • Lisa Sonora November 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      @Marci – when you visit Oaxaca, you are in for a treat – more embroidery supplies than you can imagine. This place is a dream for both artists and crafters! Whenever women are waiting, riding the bus, they are knitting, sewing, embroidering. So inspiring!

  2. Jen Mitchell November 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Hi Sis!
    I love the blouse you chose! The first pic of you in the niche is my favorite. You’re looking so beautiful!

    • Lisa Sonora November 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

      @Jen I’ll have to take some photos of the embroidered dresses they make for little girls. So adorable. I think of your three littles every time I see them. 🙂

      • Jennifer November 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

        Oh, please do! I’d love to see!

  3. Max Daniels November 5, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Ooooh, I love all these shirts – but I hope you go back for the navy/metallic one. Spectacular!

    • Lisa Sonora November 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

      @Max: oh, there are so many to choose from! I’m pacing myself! Decision paralysis, too!

  4. Laura Bucci November 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    I love your white blouse and the turquoise one looks so great! I’ve always wanted to witness the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico, so I look forward to your posts.

    So happy you’re offering the Creative + Practice online class again. Looking forward to it!

    • Lisa Sonora November 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

      @Laura There is so much to share photo-wise…about Day of the Dead. I may host a group here next year, if there is enough interest. I saw you signed up for Creative + Practice! Welcome! Can’t wait to work with you!

  5. Lisa November 1, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    Beautiful Lisa, beaming in her blouse, saintly in her nicho!!! How lucky am I to have found you here in Oaxaca!!! Tomorrow, Dia de los Muertos in Ocitlan, San Antonino and San Martin!!! Wonderful post and wonderful time!!!!


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