Jul 31, 2022


When I first opened La Huipilista Artspace in 2017, I envisioned it as a space for MORE THAN an art gallery. ART, yes, but I also wanted to be available to whatever else might want to come in. Since then, this has been a gathering space for other artists, poets, writers, workshops, pop-ups, trunk shows, residencies, art talks, and more. All this, while I still make and exhibit my own art and endeavor to show it outside of this space.

As 2022 will soon bring a 5-year anniversary to celebrate, I want to say how much I hope to continue exploring how this space can be of service, in the community at large. Covid certainly has slowed down our gatherings, and well, it's been pretty quiet around here since 2020. Even as other variants now try to stall our sense of community, I renew my efforts to bring in all that a space can expand to hold. In August, and again in September, we will host workshops like this, something you might not imagine would be part of an artspace. 

For sure, I believe that the art of living and the art of dying are compatible and related in every way. I welcome the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross workshop on Aug.10 and if you didn't sign up in time for this one, you can catch the next one in September. 

Other coming events are art workshops, textile talks and sales, and a surprise jewelry pop-up to be announced. All will respect whatever masking up and social distancing is required, as we can't guess how things are going to be in a month, or two or three. Let's keep being safe, taking care of ourselves and each other, and remember to enjoy life, artfully and gratefully. If you're interested in any of the events, or have ideas for gatherings you'd like to see here, be sure to send me an email: lenabartula@gmail.com; and if at any time you wish to unsubscribe from this blog newsletter, just send an email and let us know. 

Jun 3, 2022


Did you ever misplace a favorite sweater, your best swim goggles, the car keys? We all have, and the first thing we do is head back to the place we just were. If we're extremely fortunate, some kind person has left our precious belongings in the "LOST AND FOUND." 

I bring this up now because I've been calling 2020-2021 THE LOST YEARS, sometimes in jest and other times, in all seriousness. The losses of family, friends and finances suffered by so many will reverberate for all of lives, even as we know we must somehow move forward. In my own small world, my small art world in this small space in this small town, I'm grateful to have somehow survived all of it. 

Recently, while meditating on LOSS, the word FOUND kept coming up. You see, my book about huipiles was printed and published just a couple of months before we knew about Covid. I admit, I felt at a loss... what to do about all these books taking up space in my closet???? Gradually, during the lockdown, the work coming forward not only was not about huipiles... it was not about garments at all. While my studio practice continues to focus on recycle / reuse / reimagine, it's still about messages, social issues, soft rants and righteous rage.


Our Mother Earth suffers from having to digest too much plastic in her system, and too many forests being stripped of her trees, whether by fires or greed. What I can do is hold Her in my heart while I create works with plastic, found objects, bits and pieces of used fabric, as is my usual practice. 




Like many others I mourn not only earth changes, but also the pervasive darkness in the country I used to call home. From afar, I witness the underbelly of "The American Dream" — from immigration inequity to the loss of women's reproductive rights to outdated gun laws that turn our children's schools into halls of death. I hold these things in my heart as I vow to do whatever I can to make a change. This is what I have FOUND, rather than continue to think that all is LOST. May you find peace in this, and also be encouraged to continue mending our broken world, in whatever way you know how. 




Mar 25, 2022


Whispers in the Thread – Artbook presentation with Lena Bartula

Whispers in the Thread Lena Bartula Book


Whispers in the Thread recounts and celebrates a 15-year series of contemporary huipiles by Lena Bartula. It has been an inspired, deep dive into the mystery and seduction of a garment that is at once text and textile. Says the artist: “The idea of ‘clothing as messenger’ transformed me into a fabric and installation artist, and along the way, an advocate for women’s rights. Come along on this journey that began with the woven wonders of Guatemala, Oaxaca, and Chiapas, changing my life, my art, and my heart.”

Bartula returns to Antigua to present a talk, book signing and sale on Monday, March 28 at Cafe Condesa. Whispers in the Thread, with 147 full color pages of contemporary textile art, stories, poems, legends in both English and Spanish, connects the strands of ancient wisdom to contemporary artmaking with social consciousness. Included in the book are works from her 2014 exhibitions in Hotel Casa Santo Domingo, Museo Ixchel, and even her weaving collaboration with Lidia Lopez of San Antonio Aguas Calientes.

Whispers in the Thread Lena Bartula Book

Published in Dec. 2019, Whispers features poems and essays by contributing authors and a superbly written forward by Ana Paula Fuentes, founding director of Museo Textil in Oaxaca.

While the book is bilingual, this presentation at Cafe Condesa will be given in English, the artist’s first language. Afterward, there will be time for Q&A, one of the best ways to connect artist with audience. Books will be available for signing and sale both before and after the talk.

Lena Bartula is an artist, writer, curator, gallerist, and transplant from the U.S. now living in Mexico. Her textile and mixed media work is rooted in social consciousness, environmental awareness, and women’s stories. Early in her career, she used text and image to convey messages in oil, acrylic, printmaking, and collage, never imagining she would travel outside that known territory. In the mid-90s while living in Santa Fe, New Mexico she fell in love with the indigenous blouse called a “huipil’ and in 2003 began stitching her stories on paper and cloth.

Whispers in the Thread Lena Bartula Book

Now her studio practice revolves around reclaimed fabrics and found objects, transforming them into imaginary garments and fabric collage, inspired by the traditional clothing of diverse cultures of the world.

Her art has been shown in museums and galleries in more than 80 exhibitions and is found in collections in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Holland, Mexico and U.K. She moved to Mexico in 2004, and since 2008 has resided in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. In 2018, Bartula opened La Huipilista Artspace, where artists, workshops, salons, readings, and every kind of artful event are held. She believes in “All Art, All the Time” and thus, she lives, works, and exhibits in her own artspace, where she is the artist in (her own) residence.

This year, 2022, she created “A Room of Her Own,” a small apartment / writers’ retreat for single women and is rescheduling the projects that were stalled during the pandemic.

Whispers in the Thread Lena Bartula Book

What others say about Whispers in the Thread

The intricacy and beauty of Bartula’s work is unique and belongs to the canon of what a garment – especially a woman’s garment – can mean.
— Jennifer Clement, President of PEN International

Lena Bartula’s Whispers in the Thread, in itself, is a work of art; it satisfies and astonishes on so many levels — aesthetically and intellectually, conceptually and spiritually.
— Judith Cooper Haden, Photographer and author, Oaxaca the Spirit of Mexico:
From Seed to Salsa

This magnificent book, beautifully designed and illustrated, allows us to enter Bartula’s world of motivations and leads us through her rich creative process.
—Alberto Lenz, former director of Centro Cultural El Nigromante de Bellas Artes

By embracing the Mesoamerican dress called a huipil as the vessel for her vision and story, Lena Bartula creates a bold and unexpected body of contemporary art and process thinking… In her book, images and text leap borders and sociopolitical abstractions.
— Maia Williams, Co-director, San Miguel Writers’ Conference & Literary Festival

REVUE magazine article

Feb 5, 2022


 January just flew right by, didn't it? Here it is mid-way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox... how did that happen? I'm just back from Oaxaca, and received this newsletter yesterday from my friend Ellen Benson, aka Dumpster Diva. Seriously, look it up! There's nothing she can't and won't make art from; it's her commitment to reuse, recycle, that led to our friendship for all these years. Ellen is extraordinary in her exuberance for art, the environment, all of life, and I'm grateful to share with you her thoughts about my book presentation in Oaxaca, copied below with her permission. 

"Hola Amigos! I am thrilled that my teacher, mentor and friend, Lena Bartula was recently invited to speak about her new book, SUSURROS EN EL HILO/WHISPERS IN THE THREAD, here in Oaxaca at the English language library. It was so much fun going to the rooftop presentation because I got to see many of my friends and others who made this like a who’s who of women artists, activists, writers, photographers, community organizers of Oaxaca, most of whom i hadn’t seen in 2 years, including photographer Judith Haden, author of OAXACA: The Spirit of Mexico, former director of the Textile Museum, photographer and author Ana Paula Fuentes; Immediate Past  President of the Oaxaca Lending Library Jacki Cooper Gordon; Founder of the Healing Blanket Project  Marietta Bernstorff;  artist extraordinaire Judy Wise, Suzanne Lyons, blogger Shannon Pixley Sheppard, and many others. 

Here is how Lena describes her book: 'I'm excited to present this book, which celebrates 15 years of my huipil series. You who have followed me and know my inspiration will understand the exuberance I'm feeling. In 2003, I never could have imagined that the first huipil I created would take me on this journey. It has been an inspired, passionate deep dive into the mystery and seduction of a Mesoamerican garment that is at once text and textile.  Borrowing from the idea of the shirt as messenger has transformed me from a painter into a fabric / collage / installation artist and along the way, an advocate for women's rights. Come along with me in this bilingual book that features not only full color images of my art, but also poetry, stories, legends, artistic process, and writings by contributing authors.'

"I will also say that Lena is an honorary Dumpster Diva! Her work incorporates items for the material world of Mexico such as corn husks, zippers, clothing labels, bottlecaps, lottery sheets, market bags etc.  Whispers in the Thread is now available in San Miguel de Allende at Lena’s gallery, La Huipilista Artspace. Shipping is available within Mexico and also to the U.S.  To order, please send her an email at lenabartula@gmail.com. If you love textiles, Mexico, and the incorporation of social issues into beautiful art, you need this in your library!

Even with  all the changes, Oaxaca is still filled to the brim with fabulous murals, rooftop dining everywhere, colors and interesting people! Love, Ellen"

Lena reading at the Literary Sala, San Miguel de Allende

Some of Lena's huipil art from the book. 

Thank you Ellen Benson, for your extraordinary generosity. 
And to share with my readers something about Ellen and her own work, here's a link to her website: https://inliquid.org/artist/benson-ellen/  

Jan 6, 2022


With most New Years, there is something like a clean slate to start with. But 2022 at this point just doesn't seem like much more than a rerun of the last 2 years. Omicron, the newest name for a pandemic, threatens to chase us back into our homes, connecting only on Zoom and social media. For you and me and everyone else, I hope I'm wrong. 

Because, like so many others, I'm making plans, for new happenings as well as rescheduled events. One of these will (ojalá) unfold on the 26th of this month in Oaxaca. I'm preparing for a book presentation at the Oaxaca Lending Library, for January 26. 

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The other news is that as I looking into my storage closet to count out books to take to Oaxaca,I discovered only one full box left. What this means is that after this presentation and sale, it's possible that the first edition of Whispers in Thread will be almost finished. In February, I will once again be working with Grupo Fogra in Mexico City on a second edition. I'm so grateful to all of you who have supported me with your purchases, sales, consignments and every other kind of support large and small these two years. May 2022 be the year we've all been waiting for. Health, happiness and prosperity to you!

Dec 22, 2021



All the best that this season has to offer, to friends and enemies, family and strangers, those whose paths I may never cross, and those I'm in touch with every day. Your place in this world is a gift to others, whether you know it or not. May you touch others and be touched, love and be loved, give happiness and receive it back tenfold. May you recognize your own light within. May your joys be limitless. 

See you next year! 


Nov 22, 2021


             “In Her Power: Images of the Sacred Feminine”

In this exhibition at La Huipilista Artspace, Glen Rogers honors women and the sacred feminine in her paintings, monoprints and drawings. Her figures radiate independence, as they acknowledge the arbitrary barriers and obstacles that women encounter in their lives. In this visionary world, women hold a shared wisdom as divine creators and through ritual, reclaim ancient rites of passage.

 Disparaged figures from the Bible like Lilith and Mary Magdalene take their power back while the Celtic-based goddess imagery of Maiden, Mother, Crone comes alive in a mural sized charcoal drawing. Calling on the mystery of the moon to use their magic, they commune with birds and snakes and spirals – symbols of the ancient goddesses.

In THE SACRED FEMININE TRILOGY, shown above, Strength, Spirit, and Abundance, 48” x 96”, three women interact in a play on the Maiden, Mother, Crone image. On the left is Strength – a young indigenous woman holds a tight fist, in defiance – a "don’t mess with me” stance. Spirals of renewal dance on her skirt and a bird, her Spirit Guide, sits on her shoulder. The central winged figure, Spirit takes her place in front of the Full Moon, the most feminine of symbols. She faces us with one hand upturned to receive, the other to give back, a sacred mudra hand gesture. The Ouroboros, the snake eating its tail – an ancient symbol for renewal and the cycle of life – encircles the moon. On the right, Abundance, the young mother, pregnant with new life holds white cala lilies in front of her stomach – a symbol of fertility. She looks towards Spirit for guidance as she moves towards motherhood.

The public is invited to attend Rogers' opening reception from 3 to 6pm on Saturday, December 4. For your safety and ours, masks will be required and social distancing will be monitored inside the gallery. The fresh air patio will be open for your comfort and lively discussions, as we know will happen with this intriguing work. 

On Saturday, December 18 at 4pm, Rogers will present an artist talk either inside the gallery or n the patio, depending on the number of attendees. The exhibition continues through December 31. 

Artspace hours weekly are Thursday to Saturday, 12-5pm and by appointment, 415 111 3039, or by email at lenabartula@gmail.com. 


When I first opened La Huipilista Artspace in 2017, I envisioned it as a space for MORE THAN an art gallery. ART, yes, but I also wanted to ...