Zapotec Hippo
$ 64.00
Green Guanaco
$ 27.00
Ritzy Roadrunner
$ 171.00
Night Panther
$ 147.00
Perched Owl
$ 79.00
Basking Dragon
$ 74.00
Calixto Diablo
$ 70.00

Stroll through San Martin

One of the most expansive of all the carving villages and arguably the oldest.  They say it was San Martin that supplied the corn to the builders of Monte Alban.   Visit at high noon and you will be able to spread out your walking legs as many will be indoors due to the suns intensity.

San Martin Tilcajeta at noon on main street


An agricultural base that either gets too much water or too little.  These days people are more conscientious about how the water is managed.

Water Belongs to Everyone in San Martin Tilcajete


Bougainvilleas line a maze work of streets and small bridges.  Many people tend their own gardens.  The heat is intense at mid day keeping most folks indoors.

Banana Bridge Garden San Martin Tilcajete


From time to time you will see the workshop tiendas open for business with a lizard or painted cactus adorning the entrance to metal doors and brightly painted walls with murals.  Or not entirely finished buildings of concrete with temporary doors.

Oaxacan Metal Doors Lizard Wall


While many of the artists are friendly the one of the most amicable and personable is Innocencio Vasquez.  His festival diablos positioned in chairs and nahuals have been his mainstay for several decades.  To him they are depictions of real supernatural creatures seen infrequently.  He’s a wealth of information on these subjects of shape changers. His pieces tell a story part about the invisible world around us.

Innocencio holding one of his Diablos



nocencio Vasquez is the inventor of the enormously popular little red devils in bars

As we mentioned before San Martin has no shortage of perros and as you roam about town you will surely walk into their turf. Here is a puppy we encountered that just wanted to say hello.

Oaxacan Puppy on Dirt Road


From time to time you will see the workshop tiendas open for business with a lizard or painted cactus adorning the entrance to metal doors and brightly painted walls with murals.  Or not entirely finished buildings of concrete with temporary doors.


Brick Concrete Block Store San Martin Under Construction

Two of the greatest painters Roberta Angeles (Left) and Maria Jimenez (Right) are the masters of the floral patterns.  While they like to tout their larger works it’s actually the smaller pieces that show off their uniquely individual pattern woven styles.  These two have inspired three generations of Oaxacan carving artists working around them.

Roberta Angeles and Maria Jimenez Ojeda in their Studios


Back in 2004 we were lucky to run into Isidoro Cruz who was very engaging at the time, full of humor and spirit.  He is one of the very last to use the aniline dyes which were the predecessor of Acrylic painted works.  His stories of witches, nahuals, devils, and angels seen in the area over the years is expansive. He’s a legend of his village on par with Manuel Jimenez of Arrazola and Gabino Reyes of La Union.

Isidoro Cruz holding his mask in San Martin


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Deep Deep Chocolate

Deep Deep Chocolate

Today!  What a delight when a new batch of Oaxacabars arrive at Port Wahakaa.  This time of year the Oaxacan chocolates are intensely potent with a deep dark intensity.  Two bars would satiate any chocolate lovers for real chocolate.  Great for Gifts!  Nothing beats real Cacao (Milk Free) Chocolate!

25 Chocolates are 11.25  Quarter Sheet
50 Chocolates are 22.00  Half Sheet
100 Chocolate are 30.00  Full Sheet


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Protests in Oaxaca make it difficult for the Artists

Oaxaca Street Protest Closed Teacher

While the Teachers close down many roads and make their tent city base camp in Oaxaca’s Zocalo it is the artisans that are often the ones stuck in the middle of it all.  Unable to get their wares to market and if they can the tourists are not there.

Burning Oaxaca Zocalo Fire

Some time around 2006 the Oaxaca National Coordinator of Education Workers or the 'Teachers' started coordinating large strikes and in recently have made permanent blockades of roads shutting down all kinds of commerce.  While their motives and struggle are apparent it’s the citizens who depend on tourism to sell their crafts are having an incredibly difficult time making ends meet as the protests go on year after year.

Navigating the city center is like moving around under tarps and shops that have gone out of business.  Trip Advisor has many comments regarding this on their site about the Zocalo being gloomy and intimidating.  U.S Department of State has updated their Mexico Travel Warning in January 2016 stating that foreigners are routinely held up at knifepoint and robbed in many areas of Oaxaca.  But does that stop us from getting collectors the best Oaxacan woodcarvings we can obtain at the same prices they were in 1998?  Most certainly not.  We blend in by dressing badly and walking quickly with purpose.  The people of Oaxaca are resilient and have a sense of polite stoicism.  Unfortunately, the protests have brought in many out of state elements that debase the essence of kindness and courtesy. 

Before 2006 the Zocalo resembled

Zocalo Oaxaca Before Teacher Protests

And these days resembles this

Tent Teacher Protest Zocalo Oaxaca

After ten years of dealing with these issues we thought it was time to let our collectors know the chaos that has made bringing Oaxacan Art to our gallery all the more difficult.  Shipments get delayed for months and some carving villages like La Union are on roads that are often times closed due to protests.  This has often times led to scarcity in the last two years.  Still we have an amazing selection of works to chose from and continue to make the effort to logistically get pieces no matter how many times we may fall on our faces.

The LA times did a great article on this years Guelaguetza being mostly a bust for indigenous artisans who rely on the festival to sell their wares.  This article from September 6 2016 indicates the protests are intensifying with no end in sight

While we have always strictly focused on the Oaxacan woodcarving artists we feel it is time to mention that their world around them is seeing hard times.  Makes you appreciate more than ever the work they do.


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