Textiles & Talismans: Oaxaca, Mexico Art Workshop & Tour

by Lisa Sonora

Textiles + Talismans: Creative Passport Art Workshop & Tour in Mexico with Lisa Sonora

March 1-7, 2019 

Location: Oaxaca City, Mexico


(Oaxaca is pronounced Wa-Ha-Ka, and is both a city and a state (like New York, NY) in Southern Mexico)

In the Textiles + Talismans Creative Passport workshop you’ll the experience the beautiful colonial city of Oaxaca, explore indigenous textile villages like an artist, and create a beautiful, richly textured and layered visual travel journal that documents your journey.

Oaxaca City, Mexico is a land of magic, mythos, and art. You’ll find traditional weavers, sculptors, potters, dancers, musicians, storytellers and curanderas (indigenous healers) mixing it up with modern painters, photographers, writers, and poets.

Natural dye bath boiling on the patio

Boiling the dye bath for red – made from Cochineal

We’ll go on artistic treasure hunts in Oaxaca City and in the nearby old villages in search of the images, collage elements, stories and inspiration that we’ll use to embellish our travel journals.

Travel journal from Mexico art and textile tour

A page from Lisa’s travel journal.

We’ll visit ancient villages off the beaten path, where master weavers still spin and dye their own wool using all natural pigments.

We’ll also visit Oaxacan artists in their studios, and shop and eat in the bustling Mercados, right alongside the locals.

Did you know that Oaxaca has one of the most beautiful zocalo’s (town centers) in all of Mexico?

Embroidered pillow cover from Oaxaca, Mexico

Embroidered pillow cover from Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca is a Unesco world heritage site, with no less than 21 cathedrals within the historic center, towering limestone walls, and secret gardens behind every adobe wall and doorway.

During our travels, I’ll help you experience Oaxaca, Mexico as an artist, with tips on getting great travel photos, sketching in public (even if you can’t draw!), collecting stories to remember, and finding symbols and signs that support your creative journey.

Mixed-media travel journal by Lisa Sonora

Mixed-media travel journal by Lisa Sonora

During studio time, I’ll show you how to create your own, one-of-a-kind, portable and expandable travel journal out of beautiful papers, maps, ribbons, envelopes, and other ephemera we find in Mexico.

You’ll also learn how to create talismans, out of things we collect, that you can use as adornment for the body, home or your studio.

You’ll get plenty of instruction in mixed-media techniques, plus guidance on how to use the experience of travel to increase your own creativity, including how to break through creative blocks.

shopping for embroidered aprons

Time to pick out some aprons!

Travel is the perfect way to awaken and enliven your creative spirit. Being in a foreign land awakens our curiosity, brings our senses alive, and requires us to navigate the unfamiliar. These are just a few of the qualities that play a part in artistic expression, and you’ll learn how to harness these qualities as you craft your travel journal.

tales of adventure - creative passport workshop

Everything you learn in the workshop can be applied to any journey you are on in life – whether it’s a travel journey, or a life journey.

All you need to participate is a willingness to explore, curiosity, and your passport!

Everyone can travel artfully, and anyone can make a beautiful travel journal that captures their experience.

No prior experience in art, writing — or even travel — is required! Absolute beginners are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Fact: Many people who come to my international workshops are getting their very first passport and passport stamp on the way!

handmade one-of-a-kind embroidered aprons from Oaxaca, Mexico

If you are a creative soul who yearns to combine meaningful art-making with foreign travel, then you’ll love this experience.

In this workshop you’ll learn how to:

  • Create your own portable, expandable travel journal out of beautiful papers, maps, ribbons, envelopes, and other ephemera that we find in Mexico.
  • Create a talisman out of symbolic items you collect on our journey
  • See with the eyes of an artist, and find ephemera and stories for your journal.
  • Make fantastic use of the stuff we find on our treasure hunts through Oaxaca’s magical streets, shops, cafes, artistic haunts, and historic monuments.
  • Use paint, drawing, and collage to create richly textured pageseven if you have no experience in painting, drawing or collage.
  • Photograph and shop for handmade textiles — weaving, embroidery, objects for the home and to wear
  • Take better photos with your smart phone or portable digital camera, the apps you can use to create compelling travel photos, and how to weave them into your travel journal.
  • Capture your own meaningful travel stories to add to your journal, even if you don’t think of yourself as a writer or are afraid to write.
  • Find and work with unlikely materials. No matter where you go, even without traditional art supplies, you can create a wonderful artifacts of your journey.

No matter what level of experience, you’ll absolutely fall in love with your own creative work. Even if you are an absolute beginner or have old hangups about not being creative.

P.S. Everyone pretty much has some kind of creative hangup at some time – so don’t let that stop you.

embroidered blouses at the market in Oaxaca Mexico

Handmade, richly embroidered blouses at the market in Oaxaca, Mexico

You’ll take away:

  • A magnificent, one-of-a-kind handmade travel journal, brimming with color, texture, images and stories of your time in Oaxaca, Mexico.
  • Meaningful and artful travel photos that tell the story of your journey
  • A handmade talisman, to accompany you home and inspire your next steps.
  • Textiles! If you care to do some shopping… I’ll take you to all of my favorite artisans and shops. Pack light so you can take home your treasures.

Hand spun and dyed wool drying in the sun

Outside of the studio, our group will:

  • Take a walking / photo tour of Oaxaca’s historic center, (where we will be lodging) with the best cafes, restaurants, and textile and crafts shops identified
  • Enjoy tasting Oaxaca’s famous mescal, chocolate and moles, with the makers and chefs that make Oaxaca’s cuisine world-famous and a destination in itself.
  • Tour artisans studios, learn their techniques, and shop in Oaxaca’s indigenous craft villages
  • Shop and eat at a bustling local market – where people have been gathering for centuries
  • Go on treasure hunts around town for fun stuff to add to your travel journal
  • Visit Oaxaca’s Textile Museum
  • Have time to shop for textiles and crafts!

This is an experiential travel workshop in the company of kindreds who also love art and travel.

Creative adventures await you! Get your passport and start packing!

Registration Details

Textiles & Talismans: Creative Passport to Mexico Workshop with Lisa Sonora

Dates: Friday, March 1 (arrival day) – Thursday, March 7 (departure day), 2019

Double Occupancy


$2,295 Registration with Double Occupancy room on-site

Register Now with Double Room Deposit$500 Deposit holds your space. We will invoice you for the balance, due by December 1, 2018, or upon registration is registering after the due date.

Click Register Now button, above, to reserve your space now with a $500 Deposit. 

For Double Occupancy rooms, you’ll be assigned a roommate, or you can let us know who you’ll be rooming with if you are attending with a friend.

Off-Site Lodging

Just three spaces available

Sleep off-site at one of our recommended lodgings nearby, within a block or two of Art House. You’ll participate in all workshop activities and meals included in the workshop. We offer this option when all of the on-site rooms at Art House are booked.


$1,995 Workshop Registration Only – book your own lodging off-site

Click Register Now button, above, to reserve your space now with a $400 Deposit. 

$400 holds your space. We will invoice you for the balance, due upon registration.

Double rooms have two twin beds – with beautiful textiles and furnishings from Oaxaca, Mexico.



SOLD OUT: $2,595 Registration with your own Single room on-site 

Please make sure you’re OK with the policies, below, before you register.

Single rooms have a king bed. All textiles are from right here in Oaxaca, Mexico!

Location: Art House Oaxaca, in the historic center of Oaxaca City, Mexico

Please make sure you’re OK with the policies, below, before you register.


Your registration deposit confirms you’ve read and accepted the policies.

Our outdoor hallway mural – that’s Macchiato, one of our rescue dogs, holding space.

Registration includes:

  • Workshop instruction and supplies
  • Pre-trip notes and guidelines
  • Six nights lodging
  • Six breakfasts
  • Five lunches
  • Demonstration of natural dye process
  • Visits to ancient villages where whole families do weaving, embroidery,  sewing, painting and pottery
  • Indigenous market visits
  • Guides and transport for our outings
  • Option to arrive early or stay on later here at Art House Oaxaca, if you’d like to extend your stay


By registering, you agree to these terms.

Confirmation: You’ll receive an email after you make your deposit. This is your registration confirmation, and contains helpful info to get you started planning your trip to Oaxaca. Please keep this email in a safe place. It’s recommended that you print it out.

Important: All retreat information will be emailed to the email addresses you used when registering. If you require the materials be sent to an alternate email address,  please email Lisa’s assistant, Jen (jen @ lisa sonora (dot) com) and let her know right away.

Cancellation, Refunds, Payment  Schedule…

A deposit of $500 USD will hold you space for a double room, $600 USD for single room, $400 USD for workshop only, lodging off-site (we have a list of recommended lodging within a block or two of Art House).

Deposit is fully refundable until October 31, 2018. On or after November 1, 2018, your deposit is non-refundable.

The balance is due by December 1, 2018.

You’ll receive an invoice from us for the balance. If you’d like to pay the balance in smaller payments over time, no problem. We’ll set up a payment plan that works for you at no additional charge.

Cancellation Before October 31, 2018: full refunds will be issued to those that cancel their registration by emailing Jennifer at Jen(at)LisaSonora(dot)com. Please include Cancellation Request in the subject line, and in the message, include the name and email address you used to purchase your registration.  A full refund will be made to you within 72 hours of receiving your cancellation email.

On and after November 1, 2018 ALL SALES FINAL.

Cancellations on and after November 1, 2018: Registration is non-refundable.

Got Questions?

Please feel free to email us with any questions or concerns about the workshop. Not sure if this is the right workshop / retreat for you? Got travel questions? Please do get in touch.

Hurry! Lodging on site is limited to 10 maximum, double occupancy, or 5 Single occupancy.

Because Oaxacan cuisine is so wonderful, dinners are not prearranged to give you freedom to choose where and what to eat. We will point you to our favorite restaurants and even make reservations for you.

Everything is an easy walk from Art House Oaxaca (where you’ll be lodging and enjoying studio time). Taxi’s are abundant and affordable if you prefer not to walk.

Most people pair up or go to dinner in groups, so don’t worry about dining alone.

Travel Tips:

You DO need a passport that doesn’t expire for six months from your date of entry to Mexico.

You’ll fly into the Oaxaca de Juarez, Oaxaca airport.

Airport code is: OAX

From the Oaxaca airport, you’ll take a taxi to the lodging and workshop location, or your own lodging. We’ll give detailed instructions and the address with your trip welcome info.

Taxi fare is about $7 per person, and there is just one taxi counter inside the airport. Easy and stress free!

I like to search for airfares on Skyscanner.com

Lisa with paintbrushes

Lisa is wearing an embroidered blouse from Oaxaca, and skirt from Chiapas – find these beauties here in the Oaxacan markets!

About Lisa Sonora, your hostess and guide (guidess!)

Lisa Sonora is an American artist, author, and intrepid traveler, based in Oaxaca, Mexico, who wants to live in a world where everyone remembers that they are an artist.

Originally trained as an art therapist, and a long-time student of meditation, Lisa brings a compassionate and contemplative approach to her teaching.

Her first book, The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Guidebook to Making Business Ideas Real (Quarry, 2008) launched a movement that has helped thousands to live their creative dreams.

A sought after facilitator, she’s led international writing and creativity workshops on five continents for more than 20 years: at schools in Africa, inside tech companies, coach training programs, churches and zendos, and at retreat centers and in universities.

She trains others to lead creativity workshops in her Creative Journey Facilitator Training program.

Lisa is passionate about demystifying the creative process, and takes a practical approach to getting creative work done. If you’ve got resistance, bring it!

She loves guiding creative souls in making their own art and magic in the world’s most inspiring places.

Image credits: All images taken by Lisa Sonora in Oaxaca, snapped with an iPhone