Little black ones

If the 2020 census takers have visited you, then you were asked if you had African heritage. Negrita doll from Muzquiz municipality, Coahuila. Author unknown 2020 The question is significant because it is the first time it is being asked. Previously, ethnic diversity was represented in the census only through language(s) spoken, as a way … Continue reading Little black ones

Shoes and pottery tucked away in northern Veracruz

As anyone who has gone off the beaten path in Mexico can tell you, the country is still filled with hidden gems...small towns which have preserved their identity and charm, which, of course, can include handcrafts. Female figure by Gustavo Vazquez Hernandez of Naolinco I first heard of Naolinco, Veracruz at the annual doll fair … Continue reading Shoes and pottery tucked away in northern Veracruz

Blog post, truncated due to organizing an exhibit edition

What did I get my self into? and how soon can I do another one? So, I´m organizing my very first exhibition. It is about cartonería, Mexico's paper mache tradition and the subject of the book I published last year, Mexican Cartonería: Paper, Paste and Fiesta. L: Book presentation in English at the Museo de … Continue reading Blog post, truncated due to organizing an exhibit edition

A Buddha in Mexico? Why not?

Skeletal figure by Lobito Ferretiz Sometimes we foreigners, even those of us who live here, get the false impression that “Mexican culture” is something static… stuck somewhere 100 years or more in the past. We can be forgiven for this as most of what is promoted, especially to tourists, gives this impression, especially in the … Continue reading A Buddha in Mexico? Why not?

With a potential for being sophisticated

While covering a story for a newspaper I contribute to, I was reminded that totomoxtle (Nahuatl for corn husk), is a more sophisticated material than what it usual uses would indicate. Anyone who has seen a tamale has seen totomoxtle. With the exception of the far south of the country, it is the wrapper of … Continue reading With a potential for being sophisticated

Doing what you love and safeguarding history at the same time

On one of my visits to San Miguel Allende, I was told that many gringos still come there hoping to find an old colonial building they can fix up. In San Miguel, the opportunity to do that has long since passed, and many who live there now have to make do with new construction or … Continue reading Doing what you love and safeguarding history at the same time

Fifth generation in stone

Yes, it gets chilly in Aguascalientes in winter In the small municipality of Jesus Maria, just outside the city of Aguascalientes, the Alvarado family has been linked to the working of stone for generations. Today, the best-known member of the family is Fernando Alvarado, the fifth generation to chisel. The first generations did more utilitarian … Continue reading Fifth generation in stone

Strong and determined dancers need strong and determined masks

Sometimes the making of a traditional handcraft item comes full circle. This is the case for Chicahuales masks in the barely- Norteño state of Aguascalientes. The Chicahuales dance is a variant of the Moors and Christians dance that can be found all over Mexico, especially in central and southern Mexico. This dance was developed by … Continue reading Strong and determined dancers need strong and determined masks