OAXACA WEAVING + MEZCAL RETREAT

DISTILL CREATIVE EXPERIENCE: WEAVING + MEZCAL IN OAXACA, MEXICO

OAXACA CENTRO AND TEOTITLÁN DEL VALLE, MEXICO

AUGUST 28TH - SEPTEMBER 2ND, 2019

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Where can you learn about mezcal, weave with Zapotec artisans, and eat amazing quesadillas? Oaxaca, Mexico! You’ll not only be immersed in Oaxacan traditions and culture, but have an intensive course in weaving, a natural dye demo, and a crash course in mezcal.

This is 6 days/5 nights with 4 days of focused programming designed to get you introduced to Oaxaca, Mexico and learn the fundamentals of Zapotec weaving. You’ll be working in a remote artisan studio by day and enjoying the city by night. Best of both worlds!

Each morning we’ll have breakfast in Oaxaca Centro, then head to Teotitlán del Valle for our weaving course. You’ll work on your own frame loom (approximately 18" x 30") with wool naturally dyed at the studio, learn Zapotec weaving techniques, and have personalized instruction from the Gutierrez family.

In the afternoons, we’ll have a family lunch at the Gutierrez family studio and then have some free time in the afternoon to explore Teotitlán, a neighboring village, or Oaxaca Centro. You’ll also visit an agave farm and learn about the full process of making mezcal from plant to bottle.  

In the evenings, we’ll reconvene for a communal meal to discuss and digest our days. After dinner, we’ll have mezcal tastings and enjoy delicious cocktails in Oaxaca Centro.

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Oaxaca is also a foodie destination. We highly recommend the markets, which is why we’ll be visiting different ones throughout our stay. We’ll also point out the food stands we love for late-night snacks.

Teotitlán del Valle is a historic village about 20 miles outside of Oaxaca Centro, known for weaving and textiles. Most families in the village are involved in weaving in some way -- they may gather materials, prep yarn, weave, dye, or do a bit of everything. Usually, tour groups stop at one spot in Teotitlán and then move on, but this experience will enable you to spend some time and learn from the masters in this small village. You will complete a weaving piece during your stay and create unforgettable memories in the Gutierrez family studio and surrounding area.

I developed this experience with the Gutierrez family and other local partners based on my own self-guided residency and time in Oaxaca. I designed this experience so you will have some structured instruction and free time, with plenty of craft and mezcal!

To make sure you are well prepped for the trip, I’ll send you a suggested packing list and an intro guide to Oaxaca after you sign up. I’ll host a google hangout call with all guests prior to the trip so you get to know each other and can ask any questions you may have as you get ready.

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AGENDA

DAY 1 | Wednesday

Travel to Oaxaca Centro (Oaxaca City), Oaxaca, Mexico.

This evening we’ll have a welcome meal together and night walk through Oaxaca Centro.

DAY 2 | Thursday

Breakfast on your own or at a nearby market -- we’ll show you our favorites.

We’ll head over to Teotitlán del Valle for a studio introduction with the Gutierrez Family and a natural dye demo. Then we’ll start our weaving course.

We’ll break for lunch at the family studio then resume our weaving.

In the late afternoon, you’ll have some free time when you can hang out in the village or return to Oaxaca Centro. We’ll have optional casual activities during your afternoon free time, such as visiting local print shops, the amazing textile museum, or botanical garden.

In the evening, we’ll have a group dinner and mezcal tasting in Oaxaca Centro.

DAY 3 | Friday

Breakfast on your own or at a nearby market.

We’ll head over to Teotitlán del Valle and continue our weaving course.

We’ll break for lunch at the family studio then resume our weaving.

In the late afternoon, you’ll have some free time when you can hang out in the village or return to Oaxaca Centro.

In the evening, we’ll have a group dinner in Oaxaca Centro. After dinner, we’ll stop at our favorite bars for cocktails.

DAY 4 | Saturday

Breakfast on your own or at a nearby market.

We’ll head over to Teotitlán del Valle and have our embroidery course.

We’ll break for lunch at the family studio then resume our projects.

In the late afternoon, you’ll have some free time when you can hang out in the village or return to Oaxaca Centro.

In the evening, we’ll have a group dinner in Oaxaca Centro.

DAY 5 | Sunday

Breakfast on your own or at a nearby market.

We’ll head over to a nearby artisanal mezcal distillery and learn about agave and mezcal distilling.

In the evening, we’ll gather for our last group meal and goodbyes.

DAY 6 | Monday

Breakfast on your own or at a nearby market.

Travel home and goodbyes!

Note: This is a tentative schedule subject to slight modifications based on updates and desires of the group.

 
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THIS DISTILL CREATIVE EXPERIENCE INCLUDES:

  • Dates: August 28th - September 2nd, 2019

  • 5 nights*

  • 4 lunches and 5 dinners

  • Three-day weaving intensive workshop

  • Natural dye demo

  • Embroidery workshop

  • Mezcal tasting

  • Visit to artisanal mezcal distillery

  • Transportation within Oaxaca

  • Optional market visits and exploring of local print shops, art galleries, textile museum, and botanical garden (included if desired)

*Shared occupancy with your own bed with one roommate from the group in a hotel in Oaxaca City (Oaxaca Centro). If you would like a private room (approx. an additional $300), please let us know upon purchase.
Airfare is not included.
Travel insurance is not included, but required.

Early Bird Price: $1950 USD (Book by March 1st, 2019)

Regular Price: $2150 USD

Payment Plans: Pay in full or in three installments. Final payment must be paid by 5/1/2019.

Group Size: This Distill Creative Experience is limited to 8 people.

After you purchase, you’ll receive a registration form asking you about any dietary restrictions and other details. By booking this trip, you will be submitting a $500 non-refundable payment. Please see FAQs for more details.

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FAQS

WHAT IS THE DISTILL CREATIVE EXPERIENCE: OAXACA?
A six-day, five-night retreat including an intensive weaving course, natural dye demo, mezcal education, and group dinners. You will take part in an experience designed to give you enough structure to learn and enough freedom to explore.

WHO IS THIS RETREAT FOR?
If you are interested in weaving and mezcal, if you have been wanting to visit Mexico but have not found the time, if you are a creative or creative at heart, if you just need a break from your job and want to do something creatively inspiring and productive, than this trip is for you!

This experience is not a comprehensive trip of multiple Oaxacan villages with every moment pre-planned. I have intentionally planned it this way to allow space and time so you can have a meaningful experience in Oaxaca Centro and Teotitlán del Valle. You will not be able to do everything Oaxaca has to offer, because Oaxaca is a very big state with many artisan villages and hundreds of worthwhile destinations. If you are looking for a trip where you stop at all the tourist spots with just enough time to snap a photo, this is not for you!

If you are interested in textile art and culture and love cocktails, then this is for you. This is also for you if you don’t really like group trips or touristy trips as I will do everything I can to make sure it does not feel like that, without compromising safety and quality.

WHAT WILL I GET OUT OF IT?
You will learn how to weave with Zapotec artisans, you will learn about natural dyeing, you will learn embroidery techniques, you will eat amazing quesadillas, you will learn what mezcal is (and how to drink it), you will get to have time and space to create, explore, and drink. You will probably also get lost a little in Oaxaca Centro, realize you love mezcal, and eat too much cheese.

CAN I COME EARLY/STAY LATE?
Sure! You’re welcome to plan your own trip(s) around this one on your own dime, however, we cannot plan early or late stays for you, but we can refer you to the hotel to see if that is possible.

I’M VEGAN, CAN I COME?
Of course, just please let us know your specific dietary or health needs when you register so we can make sure to plan accordingly.

DO I NEED A PASSPORT?
Yes, you’ll need a passport that is valid for at least 90 days following your departure date from Mexico, but 6-month validity on your passport at all times is highly recommended. Also, make sure you have blank pages on your passport. If you do not have a passport, make sure you get that figured out as soon as possible. You do not need a visa for this trip if you are a US Citizen and do not stay in Mexico for more than 180 days. If you are traveling from another country, please check this site for potential visa requirements.

DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?
Yes. We require that you get your own travel insurance and send us proof at least two months prior to the trip. Why? Because shit happens and we want you to be covered. We suggest checking out World Nomads, Allianz, or Travel Guard. Quotes range from $30 - $80 for the trip.

WHAT IF I NEED TO CANCEL? CAN I GET A REFUND?
By registering and purchasing a ticket for this retreat, you will submit a non-refundable deposit of $500 as part of your payment. This helps cover the time and effort it takes to put this whole thing together, upfront costs with our partners, and host the actual retreat. If for some reason you need to cancel, we may be able to provide a refund (minus the $500 deposit) on a case-by-case basis per our Terms & Conditions. This is why travel insurance is mandatory — travel insurance is the best way to cover yourself in the case of the unforeseen.

I’M A WEAVER, IS THERE AN ADVANCED COURSE OPTION?
Yes, if you have prior experience weaving, we can accommodate for a more strenuous and advanced course, possibly on the pedal loom. Please let us know when you register if this is you and we will follow up accordingly.

I’M NOT CRAFTY, CAN I COME?
Yes! This experience is meant for all skill levels and we will meet you where you are. You’ll be surprise by what you create on this trip! Just beware, weaving can become an addiction, albeit a healthy one I think.

DO I NEED TO SPEAK SPANISH?
No! While we highly encourage learning, it is not necessary for this trip. We will have an English translator for the instructional portions of this trip, but you will be expected to hang for the rest of the time with your own language skills. Not to worry, we will be here to assist and we can also give you a primer of the essentials as needed.

I DON’T DRINK, CAN I GET A DISCOUNT?
There is absolutely no issue with non-drinkers joining this trip, but you may want to reconsider if you have trouble being around people who are drinking. If you are a non-drinker, please let us know when you register so we can plan accordingly. Many mezcal places only have mezcal, but we can provide alternative beverages while at these places. There are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks to taste in Oaxaca. Unfortunately, we cannot discount the price as the price and time it will take to plan for quality alternatives will be similar to the alcoholic options.

IS THIS A RAGER?
No. This is not a drink till you drop kind of trip. This is more like a two-drink per day kind of trip. We have hosted and organized many creative workshops that include cocktails and we have never had a problem, that being said, please do not book this trip if you are looking to drink yourself silly. Responsible drinkers only. Mezcal may be easy on the stomach, but you will not be happy to wake up early and weave for 4+ hours if you stayed out all night drinking. We also do not support drinking for the sake of drinking, but rather as a communal social activity where you can appreciate the craft of the distilled beverage and complexities of the cocktail.

WILL I BE SAFE?
We will do everything we can to provide a safe environment, but we cannot account for unforeseen circumstances, hence the need for travel insurance. Oaxaca Centro is safe, but it is also a city and common sense needs to be used just like in any other city. We will send pertinent information prior to the trip to make sure you are prepared, but you should also stay up on current affairs to inform yourself.

WHO WILL BE LEADING THIS TRIP?
This trip will be hosted by myself, Stephanie Echeveste, and my sister, Valerie Echeveste. We are Mexican-American and leading this trip is a dream come true. Our weaving, natural dye, and embroidery partners are Porfirio Gutierrez and family and we will be spending most of our course time at their home studio. We will also be partnering with other local artisans, mezcal distilleries, and bars.