Honestly, I don't even know where to begin. To say that Oaxaca was amazing is a giant understatement. Laura and I fell in love with this city pretty much instantly. The colors! The crumbling, textured walls on buildings! The flowering trees! The unbelievably friendly people! It was magical.

Since I'm actually headed out of town again today (to the Oregon coast for a creative work retreat weekend with some artsy pals!), I'm going to share a small sliver of photos from Oaxaca with you, in no particular order, and then I'll write a proper post next week when I'm back home again. A whirlwind of travel these days!

So. Here I am on day 1 in front of a wall at the casa (this great little B&B called Casa Colonial) where we were staying:

The weather was PERFECT. Bright sun, no humidity, upper 80s.

One morning we went on a tour of the Ethnobotanical Gardens, where this stunning scene awaited us:

And on a different morning, we hopped on a bus to Monte Alban, the local ancient ruins from around 500 BC. Situated way up high on a hill west of the city, we had stunning views of the surrounding area, and the ruins were beautiful. Here we are, enjoying the sites:

The markets were an unbelievable jumble of sights and smells and colors:

We went to the textile museum and saw these amazing alebrijes (which are these amazing Mexican folk art wooden sculptures):

The alebrijes were Laura's and my favorite part of the trip. They were everywhere! The ones at the textile museum above were the only ones we saw wearing clothes like this-- most were just painted wood, no textiles. Alebrijes are a big part of the craft market in Oaxaca, and we had so much fun looking at all the different animals and creatures.

We even took a trip to San Martin Tilcajete, which is one of the main wood carving villages in the Oaxaca area, and visited the artist Jacobo Angeles' studio.workshop. We watched how they carve the wood and how they paint it, and we even got to meet some of the master painters:

They were so focused, and none of them were speaking. It must take a ton of concentration to paint in tiny detail the way they do!

Here's some of the loot I accumulated while we were there:

That embroidered piece on the top right, with the goats and turkeys and rabbit-squirrels is my most prized purchase. It's beyond gorgeous in person. I need to find the perfect place for it in my house!

This is the floor of our room at the casa:

It makes me want to find a tile manufacturer to partner with so I can create gorgeous tiles like these. Isn't it beautiful?

Here's sweet Laura, in front of a painted wall at the casa:

She was a truly terrific travell partner. We had the BEST time!

This is a church in Santa Maria del Tule, where the biggest tree in the world lives. It's 2000 years old! This church was filled with fresh flowers, and the smell was so divine. I love how everything in Mexico is so vibrant and jumbled and over-the-top. Seems to fit with my artistic sensibilities!

This kid was just awesome:

And this was my favorite wood carving in our room at the casa:

Everyone who works at the casa was so helpful, and when I tried to buy this carving because I loved it so much, they politely told me no (it's one of their favorites, too, apparently), but they said they'd contact the artist and have him make one specially for me and then ship it to me here in the USA. how cool is that? So I'll impatiently await the email saying my wood carving is ready.

More photos + stories from Oaxaca to come next week! For now, I'm off to spend a creative, inspiring weekend near the stormy Oregon ocean...

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