Travel Group Thread Caravan
If you've been eager to connect with another culture, but didn't know where to begin you should look into the 'Thread Caravan.'
They create workshops to teach people about traditional craft production in communities around the world. We spoke to them about their mission and their trip to Oaxaca - where they learned about the art of mezcal and mole making.
What is 'The Thread Caravan'?
Thread Caravan offers cultural art workshops around the world. Through these workshops, we employ artisans to continue practicing their craft, without the pressure to sell the goods they produce. This allows for appreciation of the process, rather than emphasis on the end product.
Who are your workshops open to? How do you sign up?
Our workshops are open to everyone! Young professionals working a 9-5 that want to use their vacation time to take a trip where they can really connect to the people and place; empty nesters with a creative hobby who want to learn from the source; university art students who want to take an art trip during the summer - really anyone who wants to dive deeper into travel, creativity, or both!
The only requirement is that you must be at least 15 years old to join a trip. And participants between the ages of 15-18 must be accompanied by an adult. Also, it's ideal if you're up for some adventure. We embrace local living by trying things like local style transport, local cuisine and more. We definitely offer comforts in areas like accommodation, but you should also be prepared for a little adventure!
How long have you been running global artisan workshops?
We had our first trip in June of 2015, so we're pretty new!
Why do you feel it's important to host 'global artisan workshops'?
Thankfully, there has been a huge movement of consumers wanting to know where the things they purchase come from, who made their clothes and goods, and how their food was grown. Thread Caravan is taking that movement to the next level by bringing travelers to the source, fostering new cross-cultural connections, and creating friendships.
In addition to this, our workshops are meant to provide a source of sustainable income to the artisans, so they can continue doing their craft, thus preserving cultural traditions. In this intricately woven global world we live in, it's easy for ideas to be shared and spread quickly. That globalization results in many things I love, but can also lead to the homogenization of cultures. Thread Caravan hopes that by offering our global artisan workshops, we are educating our travelers and ourselves about the authentic cultural diversity in the world.
Why are you interested in learning how to make Mezcal / Mole?
Mezcal and mole are both integral parts of Mexican culture. Other places in the world make mezcal and mole, but none as authentic as in Mexico. I read recently in the book, "The Drunken Botanist", that Agave has been consumed in various forms for over eight thousand years in Mexico. That's insane! The production of mezcal and mole is serious! It's the kind of thing that gets passed down from generation to generation within families and communities. By supporting the makers of mezcal and mole is serious! It's the kind of thing that gets passed down from generation to generation within families and communities. By supporting the makers of mezcal and mole, we hope those traditions can live on and continue thriving.
Also, I think many people already appreciate the tastes of mezcal and mole, but not all those people know how the two are produced. Our trip will likely facilitate an even greater appreciation for the two.
Are you interested in conducting other workshops in Mexico? If so, what are they and when will they run?
There are so many wonderful arts in Mexico that it would be great to do more. I think before we expand within Mexico we will expand to other countries so we can have a greater trip diversity for our travelers.
Who are you working with in Oaxaca to learn the art of mezcal and mole making?
For mezcal, we're working with a guide named Alvin Starkman, who has been working with mezcal farmers and distillers for years. He has loads of contacts and will take us around to different local spots where we can practice the art of making mezcal.
For mole, we're working with renowned Oaxacan chef Pilar Cabrera. With Pilar, we'll venture to the market to get groceries and then back to her kitchen to cook several local dishes with our emphasis being mole.
Ultimately, what is 'The Thread Caravan's' mission?
To provide support to artisans around the world, to preserve cultural arts, to educate travelers about the process of making things by hand, and to connect people from different cultures and backgrounds.
Sign up for trips here: threadcaravan.com
Read more about their trip to Oaxaca here.