Knowledgeable, experienced, and friendly, our staff and guides work on the ground or behind-the-scenes to help open doors for you into another Mexico that will wonderfully broaden your horizons and deepen your understanding of Mexican traditions and culture.
Traditions Mexico was founded by Eric Mindling in 1997. Eric has lived in Southern Mexico and worked closely with hundreds of rural artisans since 1992 when he landed a job, fresh out of college, as a pottery buying agent for Jackalope Pottery in New Mexico. His job was to travel the backroads of Oaxaca, find interesting pottery and ship it to the store. It was a job offer that he describes as "my equivalent to being drafted into the NFL coming out of college. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!" Through years of travelling down remote roads to small villages in search of yet another lost pottery village, eating fresh tortillas, sipping mescal and meeting one wonderful person after another Eric learned his way through the wilds of backcactus Mexico. Eric is the author of the pioneering book, “Fire and Clay, The Art of Oaxacan Pottery” and is currently (2015) working on a first of its kind photo documentary of traditional fashion in the indigenous villages of Oaxaca.
100% Oaxaqueña! In the mid 90’s Adriana was one of the team members responsible for putting together the first community based eco-tourism operation in Oaxaca as well as assisting setting up operations of the tour agency Expediciones Sierra Norte which promotes the Mancomunado project. This operation has been a success and has become a national model. Adriana was also the co-founder and resident of Tierra del Sol, a center for permaculture, natural building and organic farming created to share with people sustainable ways of living. She likes traveling as a way of opening her mind and world, hands-on activities as a way of learning and experiencing, and yoga and meditation as a way of contentment and balance.
Oaxacan born, Alejandrina Rios (Ale), is married to a Zapotec Weaver from Teotitlán del Valle, and has been involved in the world of Oaxacan culture and folk art for much of her life. It is her knowledge of Oaxacan arts and artisans and her passion for their work that make her a perfect match for Tradtions Mexico and we are thrilled to have her as part of the team. Ale takes care of behind the scenes operations. If you're in Oaxaca and would like to meet her in person stop by her beautiful folk art shop, El Nahual on 412A Reforma Street, Oaxaca México.
Alex brings a great mixture of knowledge and experience to the Traditions Mexico team. She was born and raised in Mexico City, with a bilingual-bicultural background. She studied art and graphic design in London and the USA, and spent almost a decade abroad studying, working and traveling. She returned to Mexico in 1992 to settle down and raise a family in Oaxaca where she has continued working in art production and design among other projects. In the past 17 years she has had the opportunity of running her own design business, furniture store, coffee shop, and had the has explored the “foodie” world working with chef Susana. Through all her endeavours she continues to learn about the amazing culture and beautiful landscapes the state of Oaxaca has to offer.
Premiere expert on Chiapan Highland Mayan Textiles, Anthropologist, researcher and author of several books including the classic “The Living Maya”. After moving to Chiapas in 1972 Chip began working with highland Mayan weavers. Through years of study funded by grants from the Macarthur Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and the Smithsonian, to name a few, Chip did ground-breaking work in rediscovering the meanings of the Mayan weaving iconography. He also mastered the Tzotzil Mayan language, spoken by many of the highland Maya and has done important work in promoting highland weaving and cultural preservation, including helping to found one of the most long-lived and successful weaving cooperatives in Latin America, Sna Jolobil. Chip has what seems to be encyclopaedic knowledge of all things Mayan, he is an often hilarious, wonderful speaker, and a superb guide.
Ana Paula was born in Mexico City and holds a B.A. degree in Textile Design with post graduate studies in Knit and Fashion Knitwear Design. Influences from the time she spent at the Cochineal Center in Oaxaca, Mexico, she based her thesis on the Oaxacan huipil, its origin, evolution and its actual use.
Ana Paula has worked in Barcelona, Spain and Mexico City designing fashion knitwear collections for Knit-Knit, Dover, Vitos and Escorpion. Co-founder of the experimental “11011 studio” in Oaxaca City. She has collaborated with more than twenty contemporary artists in exhibitions, performances, installations and concerts. She was also founder of “artesana”, a new craft products market network for Mexico. The “artesana” experience put her in contact with dozens of artisans from different communities throughout Oaxaca.
She has been Director of the Textile Museum of Oaxaca, founded by the Alfredo Harp Helú Foundation, since 2006. Currently she spends her time developing original projects, fomenting cultural exchange, initiating workshops, colloquiums, outreach programs and mounting sales-exhibitions involving Oaxaca´s textile makers.
Carlos was born in Mexico City, where he studies at the American School. He has been a tour assistant and guide with Traditions Mexico since 1996, and continues to widen his knowledge in the field of indigenous trades and folkart. As a designer, he works with artisans in Oaxaca and Peru adapting traditional crafts to make them more marketable to the contemporary consumer. He consults with NGOs focused on indigenous communities and sustainable natural resources.
Born in Mexico City and perfectly bi-lingual, Denise studied anthropology at the University of the Americas. Her diverse studies took her to the culturally rich coastal region of Oaxaca where she did the bulk of her thesis research. She lived a year in the Mixtec village of Santiago Ixtayutla, learning about this rich regions culture and history and even a bit of the language. She was worked with INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History) in much of Oaxaca state. Denise, who lives on the Oaxacan coast is our regional specialist in this fascinating area of Oaxaca. She is also great fun to be with; patient, interesting and easy going.
Roberto Murphy was born in Mexico, but grew up in the United States. The Murphy family moved to Chiapas when Roberto was five. One summer, Roberto got a job as a draftsman for the New World Archaeological Foundation, which is when he discovered his deep fascination with the ancient past of his country. Looking, touching and drawing pictures of artifacts was a major inspiration for his latter interest in studying the ancient Maya. Roberto started guiding in the Maya area in1985, when many of the sites could only be reached by plane, foot or ridding a mule. Roberto has been showing the wonders of his native land to visitors for almost thirty years. As a professional guide, he is constantly updating his knowledge on the Maya of the past and present. Roberto is a cofounder of the Chiapas Guide Association, an institution that trains new certified guides, organizes courses of high academic level and invites scholars to present seminars for professional guides. Roberto will fill you in with interesting facts, personal anecdotes and loads of informative stories. He loves what he does, he enjoys sharing his knowledge and making abandoned ruins come to life.
Iliana is originally from Mexico City but got herself out of the big city and headed to the peaceful hills of Oaxaca back in 2005. She hasn't looked back (except to visit family)! She has worked in the Oaxacan backcountry with sustainable agriculture as well as traditional artisans. When she is not putting out a good vibe as co-pilot on Traditions Mexico tours, she can be found in her massage studio, assisting with yoga classes or selling folkart and indigenous textiles. Iliana says, "One of my favorite things about working with Traditions Mexico is that I get to meet new people and most importantly, I get to serve others, contributing in order for them to make the most out of their trip." Iliana has travel in her feet, but as long as she is in Oaxaca we are thrilled to count her as part of our team!