International pineapples in a dairy town

San José de Gracia is a small traditional agricultural village, but one family there has given the town an international reputation. The town is located in the northeast of Michoacan with a population of about 9,000. It would be forgivable to think that the area is famous for the growing of pineapples, but in reality, … Continue reading International pineapples in a dairy town

Steady hands and old watches

About 20 years ago, Pedro Romero Ferrer suffered a terrible accident that changed his life forever. He had been working in industrial plumbing… fixing, installing, and constructing heavy pipelines. One day, he fell from a height of over eight meters. He landed on his feet, but the damage done to them ended his career. He … Continue reading Steady hands and old watches

Using sticks and strings to make millenia-old art

Backstrap loom from San Juan Colorado, Oaxaca in Mexico at the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka (credit: Yanajin33) Like most Americans, my first contact with a backstrap loom was in Mexico. It was the Toluca Museum of Folk Art, located next door to the school where I was working. I came across a group of … Continue reading Using sticks and strings to make millenia-old art

Traditional toys vs. reality

Jazmin Juarez and Alvaro Santillan inside the Taller Tlamaxcalli in Colonia Roma, Mexico City When foreigners (and many Mexicans) think of traditional handcrafts, they usually assume that said crafts are either indigenous in origin or a mix of indigenous and European. That is not always the case. Some, like Talavera pottery, are completely European in … Continue reading Traditional toys vs. reality

Manipulating delicate threads

Embroidered and "deshilado" dress from Aguascalientes at the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City Mexican crafts often tantalize with bright colors and bold designs. However, there are traditions that require a very delicate touch and result is something quite subtle. Perhaps the most delicate of all is “deshilado” or drawn thread work. This is … Continue reading Manipulating delicate threads