Gorky Gonzalez

On 13 January 2017, Mexico lost a ceramic legend. Born in 1939 in Morelia, Gonzalez was the son of sculptor Rodolfo Gonzalez. His interest in art appeared early, and he learned his father's work, including sculpting clay, metal casting and lost wax techniques. However, Gorky's lifelong passion would be the rescue and promotion of the … Continue reading Gorky Gonzalez

Seashell art in a high interior valley

Seashell handcrafts, often kitchy, are a staple of visiting popular beach destinations in Mexico. But a decidedly non-kitch use of them is found in the small indigenous communty of El Nith in the state of Hidalgo a few hours north of Mexico City. El Nith is not much more than a few blocks surrounding a … Continue reading Seashell art in a high interior valley

From royal seats to Mexican restaurants

Most Americans who go regularly to Mexican restaurants have very likely seen these, but may not know what they are called other than "Mexican chairs." The name "equipal" derives from the Nahuatl word for chair, but not just any chair, but those fit for persons of status. Legend says that Montezuma had his own equipal, … Continue reading From royal seats to Mexican restaurants

The Lemus family, molds and paper

Main image: 100-year-old molds from Celaya at the workshop of Sotero Lemus Gervasio According to local expert Virginia Hernandez Crisanto, the Lemus family has a special place in the history of cartoneria (paper mache) of Celaya, Guanajuato. They are the best-known family of this type and perhaps the most representative of the history of the … Continue reading The Lemus family, molds and paper

Weitlaner Johnson: Pioneer, ethnographic textiles studies of Mexico

Featured photo: Irmgard in Huautla de Jimenez, Mazateca Alta, Photo: Irmgard Weitlaner Johnson, Collection, Biblioteca Juan de Córdova   By Stephanie Schneiderman Born in Philadelphia in 1914 to Austrian parents, Irmgard arrived to Mexico in 1922 at the age of eight. Her father Robert, a metallurgist, had a keen personal interest in studying native languages … Continue reading Weitlaner Johnson: Pioneer, ethnographic textiles studies of Mexico

Tonalá vs Tlaquepaque

For those shopping for handcrafts in Guadalajara, there are two neighboring "towns," Tonalá and Tlaquepaque, which both are touted for handcrafts. Which you prefer depends on the kind of experience you are looking for. Both were small rural towns to the southwest of Guadalajara, but today there is little to immediately distinguish them from the … Continue reading Tonalá vs Tlaquepaque

Discovering a small state’s handcrafts

In 2014, the small state of Aguascalientes joined the ever-growing number of Mexican states that have (or have added to) one or more culural centers dedicated to the preservation and promotion of local handcraft traditions. It's not so much that handcrafts in and of themselves yield a great economic boon for state coffers, but rather … Continue reading Discovering a small state’s handcrafts