Reinterpreting the past for modern homes

In the 4+ years of this blog, there are a few major topics that have not yet been covered. One of these is Mata Ortiz pottery. The main reason is that I live in Mexico City, though I admit that is only a partial excuse as I lived 11 years in Arizona previously. Mata Ortiz … Continue reading Reinterpreting the past for modern homes

Skulls in honor of Francisco Toledo

On October 29, the Angel Gil Hermida Folk Art Museum in Villahermosa, Tabasco held an unusual and very appropriate memorial for an icon of Mexico's art world, Francisco Toledo. Although classified as part of the Ruptura (Breakaway) generation, which rebelled against Mexican muralism, Toledo himself would breakaway from them to found the Oaxaca School of … Continue reading Skulls in honor of Francisco Toledo

From Persia to the State of Mexico to Chiapas

The Feria Nacional de la Cultura Rural was recommended to me as worth visiting for handcrafts. The demise of my favorite Mexico City event, the Feria de los Pueblos Indígenas, meant the loss of a very important source of contact with artisans outside of my immediate region. Admittedly, I waited until the last day to … Continue reading From Persia to the State of Mexico to Chiapas

Tradition and innovation at the Alebrije parade

For the 13th year in a row, monsters have taken over the streets of the historic center of Mexico City. The Monumental Alebrijes Parade has become the kick-off to the capital's Day of the Dead celebrations, one of its most important tourist seasons, drawing over 450,000 visitors for a nearly two-week time period. The parade … Continue reading Tradition and innovation at the Alebrije parade

Silk and lace and ribbons and beads and…

The wonderful thing about cloth dolls is that there are few limits to an artistan's creativity in making one. Materials for construction of all kinds abound to be purchased or even found. For this reason, most doll makers find their niche through the kinds of materials they use, a particular style, or both. In some … Continue reading Silk and lace and ribbons and beads and…

Huizache-finding strength in numbers and tradition

A perennial problem that artisans have is the push-pull between production and sales. Any time spent on sales takes time away from production, but relying on resellers results in very low prices for artisans. One answer that a number of artisans have found is in cooperatives. The simplest and most successful of these have been … Continue reading Huizache-finding strength in numbers and tradition

The case for a broader definition of “artesanía”

Researching paper mache in Mexico and contact with cloth doll makers here has led me to be interested in what can be called "urban handcrafts and folk art." Almost all Mexican folk art collectors think of Mexico's rural and indigenous peoples doing a craft for generations when it comes to what makes for "real" handcrafts. … Continue reading The case for a broader definition of “artesanía”