Oaxacan crafts producers are celebrated for the quality of their work, their business success, and the ability of their goods to transcend space and time. Weavers of cotton and woolen textiles, potters of a wide variety of pottery styles, and most recently wood carvers who make alebrijes (painted wooden animals) produce goods that are bought and sold on the international market and appear in museum collections world-wide. Nevertheless, there are crafts in Oaxaca that are not viable in the current market and that do not show up in international collections. In this paper, we examine one such craft: basket making in the community of San Juan Guelavia. We argue that the decline in the market for these goods reflects several changes: first, a decline in local use; second, a rise in the costs of production; and third, a lack of support by exporters and an inability to engage the export or tourist markets. In response, local producers have moved into wage labor (locally and through migration) to secure their incomes.

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