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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Oil Cloth, Oaxaca, Mexico

The name is historical rather than accurate.  Oil cloth was cotton material that was upholstery weight and then heavily oiled to make it more or less water repellant.  The industry was moved from the Untied States to Mexico long ago, but what is widely produced today under the name oil cloth retains the vibrant colors and fruit and floral designs but is now made entirely of plastic.  It is the tablecloth that graces eating establishments throughout Oaxaca, whether the diner is eating inside or out.  The designs are festive and cheerful, and the product is very affordable.
On my last trip to Oaxaca I neglected to bring back any oil cloth, save ones that had been made into bags.  I regretted that oversight and remedied it on my most recent trip.  My purchase was made at the Sunday market in Tlacalula, where there are many options to choose from and best of all, none of them is really a bad choice.  It is the sort of thing that you see so much of when you are there you wonder if it is trite to bring home, but in the end you are glad that you did.  A bonus is that it is very easy to fit into a suitcase.  I have not completely settled on what I will do with the cloth I brought home but I am very glad to have it.

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