From cookware to souvenirs

Tourism both saves and often changes handcraft traditions in Mexico, sometimes profundly. Tourism is one of Mexico’s main sources of income and its reach continues to grow. The center of Querétaro state is pretty much unknown to many foreigners, but that is slowly changing because of its proximity to Mexico City and San Miguel Allende. … Continue reading From cookware to souvenirs


In an article about popotillo I talked about the division of handcrafts in Mexico as "artesanía" and "manualidad" with the former having a higher cultural status. The work done by Josué Samuel Hernandez and his wife Elidee Arellano Dominguez might just straddle the divide between the two. They work a technique called "crystalized tissue paper." … Continue reading Verabrijes

Texture and color or The Drive Part 2

See The Drive, Part 1 here Although best known for the beaches of Acapulco, most of the state of Guerrero is a world away from nightclubs and Spring Breakers. Poor, mountainous and with bad infrastructure, most of the state's rural (and indigenous) populations still rely on the land and its gifts to survive. Such conditions … Continue reading Texture and color or The Drive Part 2

Earth, bright colors and shape-shifters

The Vazquez family is one of Tonalá best-known families of traditional potters, specializing in barro brunido, but that does not mean that they shun innovation. The best-known family member now is award-winning potter, Arnulfo Vazquez, but the story begins with his paternal grandmother, Encarnación Carmon. She began making traditional barro brunido, focusing on traditional utilitarian … Continue reading Earth, bright colors and shape-shifters

The night no one sleeps

Many foreigners living in Mexico may have never heard of the country's smallest state, Tlaxcala. The area's history, from pre-Hispanic kingdom to the present, seems to revolve around maintaining its independence and identity, first from the Aztecs, then the Spanish and in more modern times, the state of Puebla, which surrounds it on three sides. … Continue reading The night no one sleeps

Snakes on a mask: the Horta brothers

Tócuaro is a tiny community. You can walk from end-to-end in less than 5 minutes, but it is home to one of the Lake Patzcuaro region's notable handcrafts, the making of wooden masks, especially those depicting devils. These masks are mostly tied to the largest annual event here, the "Pastorelas" which occurs in early February. … Continue reading Snakes on a mask: the Horta brothers