Alebrijes: Mystical Art, History, Culture And Practice

If you have experienced alebrijes with us in the past, this is the same format as our original alebrije-painting experience, which many guests return to time and time again. We have moved this experience out to Tilcajete though, so that you can learn about this artform from our hosts in their home environment.

Oaxacan alebrijes are surreal dream-like wooden sculptures composed of elements of different animals and mythical creatures, painted with brilliant colors and patterns. Mastering this process requires dedication, patience, and a keen attention to detail.

Alex, Criselda, and Benita will share their town´s history and relationship with this colorful artform, and will explore the complex history of this craft, which is intersectional in time and place with Mexico City and other Oaxacan villages. They will explain the historical meaning behind different color selections and the series of zapotec-originated designs used to decorate alebrijes. (Beginners, have no fear–the earliest alebrijes were painted with a series of lines and dots, and Criselda is also ready to demonstrate a “how to” for the less artistically-inclined! If this is your first attempt, our only expectation is that you enjoy yourself!)

What to Expect

Step One: Read our Covid Protocol. If you agree with these terms and practices, write to us and request this experience, telling us how many people are in your small group and what your dates of availability are. Let us know where we’re staying so that we can arrange to pick you up on the agreed-upon date.

Step Two: Once we’ve found a date that works for our hosts and for your group, we will send you a Paypal request for a deposit for your experience. This deposit is non-refundable. In case of an emergency with our hosts, we will do our best to reschedule with you at a mutually-convenient time. If that is not possible, we will refund your deposit.

Step Three: We’ll meet you at Tlayudona’s office at 11 a.m. and arrive in Tilcajete.

This is an introductory course and no prior experience or skill level is required. It is offered in Spanish with English translation. Check our social media for albums of past alebrije-painting workshops, as this is our longest-standing and one of our most beloved experiences.

Experience Includes

  • Your own 3-5 inch hand-carved alebrije (model of your choosing)
  • Your selection of acrylic colors
  • Brushes, palettes, aprons, and other necessary art supplies lent by Tlayudona
  • A live presentation about the history of alebrijes in Oaxaca and group instruction regarding painting techniques
  • One-on-one help with your detailing technique
  • A typical breakfast and flavored water
  • Transportation to and from Tilcajete following our Covid Protocol

Logistics and Cost

Time Involvement – Approximately 4.5 hours

Transportation – from Tlayudona’s office to Tilcajete.

Costs and Minimums –1,450 MXN per person. 

Children are welcome to attend with their parents.

There is a minimum of 4 people for this experience.

Feel free to contact us about additional pricing options for larger groups.

We are also able to schedule full-day experiences that include delicious home-cooked meals prepared by our host family.