How can I begin to describe the wonderful artist residency I recently completed in Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico? My time, as one of three international artists, at the 360 Xochi Quetzal summer residency program, hosted by fiber/installation artist Deborah Kruger, was simply magical - enriching, stimulating and fun. Located on the shores of Lake Chapala, the largest freshwater lake in Mexico, Chapala was my home for one month in August this year. A perfectly appointed casita, perched on the third floor with views of the mountain range, the lake and the Red Cross clinic, was truly a home-away-from-home and also my studio. The purpose of me applying for a residency in Mexico was to experience a culture which still has a living tradition of embroidery, but finding vintage embroidery in Chapala proved more difficult than I anticipated. A lot of needlework found locally is made solely for the commercial/ tourist market - blouses, dresses, table runners, pillow covers etc. Fortunately I met some very generous people, both connected to the residency or in chance meetings, who were able to direct me to artisan pueblos, shops and galleries where I found some exquisite pieces. I was also fortunate to meet an embroiderer who I commissioned to make several Mexican flowers in silk. The residency afforded me time to relax, explore, experiment and enjoy life "without the stress and distractions of daily life" - although there were many distractions which took me out of the studio and into the streets of this wonderful, and very alive, pueblo!