A child’s dreams and nightmares sculpted in paper

Adalberto Alvarez Marines, born 1952, grew up in a typical rural Michoacan family. Unfortunately, one tradition, especially at that time, was to scare children into behaving with stories of "El Coco" (like the monster in the closet) or "La Llorona," the weeping woman who might grab those who were naughty. Being a more sensitive and … Continue reading A child’s dreams and nightmares sculpted in paper

Stripes and feathers

The rebozo is an, if not the, iconic women’s garment of Mexico. Like other traditional garments, the designs indicate where it is from (with the exception of some modern designs). Michoacan is one of Mexico’s main producers of traditional rebozos and other crafts, although it does not get the attention it deserves. Many communities are … Continue reading Stripes and feathers

The boxed worlds of Oscar Becerra

Oscar Becerra is both  an artisan and anthropologist, who combines the two worlds to create windows on Mexican history and culture. While studying at the National School of Anthropology and History, he discovered working with paper mache (cartoneria), developing it first as a hobby. It quickly became something more than that, and by the time … Continue reading The boxed worlds of Oscar Becerra

Baskets, boxes and mats at the National Musuem of Popular Culture

  One of Mexico's least-known and least-appreciated handcraft traditions is basketry, which includes the making of other items made from stiff plant material. It is most likely the oldest handcraft in Mexico, predating pottery and textiles. The working of reeds, palm fronds, willow branches, straw and corn husks are all categorized as "fibras vegetales" (vegetable fibers), … Continue reading Baskets, boxes and mats at the National Musuem of Popular Culture

A family tradition saved and then some

Camelia Rosas is a fifth generation ikat weaver and rebozo maker of the Tenancingo (State of Mexico) line. But the tradition almost died out with the fourth generation, Camelia's father Isaac Ramos. Maestro Isaac grew up dyeing, weaving and making the iconic garment as a child in Tenancingo, but gave up the activity before Camelia was … Continue reading A family tradition saved and then some

Is cartonería dead in Celaya?

Not quite. In Crafts of Mexico (1991), Marian  Harvey had little good to say about Celaya of the late 1980s/early 1990s, when she did her research. She describes Celaya as ugly town with no colonial charm, where those in smaller communities visited only to make major purchases. She indicates that cartonería here was on its last legs. … Continue reading Is cartonería dead in Celaya?