Artesanía in Oaxaca is not just a tradition - it's a heritage. You will not walk far before spotting an arts and crafts stall or shop overflowing with little goodies just begging to be taken home in your suitcase! There are also tons of excellent Oaxaca Markets to do your shopping in. As Oaxaca arts and crafts are incredibly varied, there is bound to be something for all tastes - whether you are looking for a little trinket as a souvenir or a more expensive piece of artwork or furniture, there is no better place to look for it in Mexico than Oaxaca!
Below you can find a list of the most common Oaxaca arts and crafts to keep your eyes peeled for as you travel around:
You will find lots of wooden crafts ranging from masks and games to toys and guitars which are usually painted in a plethora of colours. Copal wood is specific to the Oaxaca region and is traditionally used to make Alebrijes. These crafty critters (no pun intended) are one of the most common Oaxaca keepsakes and make great presents. Alebrijes are mythological animals that come in all sizes and shapes - they are hand carved and painted in bright colours. How could you resist taking one home?
Oaxaca is a perfect place to pick up some beautiful jewellery. Markets and little craft shops are the best place to bag a bargain on some gold or silver pieces. Stones commonly used in Oaxaca jewellery are amber, turquoise, amethyst and onyx among others... beautiful!
Pottery & Ceramics (Alfarería)
Brightly painted pots, vases, cups and just about anything makeable on a potter's wheel can be found in Oaxaca. The most traditional form however, is Oaxaca black pottery which uses a dark clay only found in this region. The finished product is so easily recognisable for its smooth, dark black surface - elegant and unique.
If you enjoy looking at beautiful hand-woven fabrics then Oaxaca arts and crafts will be like heaven for you! Textiles is one of the most popular goods on the market and you'll be spoilt for choice with all the colours and products that are on offer around Oaxaca. Most traditional are the woven rugs, bags, table cloths, bed spreads and curtains which you can often see being made by the artesans in their workshops. You can either go for natural, undyed fibres or pick up one of the brightly dyed pieces.
Leather is also big in Oaxaca's arts and crafts markets. You will find anything from jackets and bags to belts, purses and cushion covers. Be warned though - the cheaper garments are made with untreated leather which can often smell very strong.