A reminder of what we lose during quarantine

During this time of COVID pandemic, Mexico’s paper mache artisans have been especially hard hit. Almost all of their traditional products are regalia for festivals and other celebrations. Although understandably on hold for now, such events have been the glue of Mexican society, making and reaffirming ties that help individuals and families whether life’s storms. … Continue reading A reminder of what we lose during quarantine

Lost and found in San Miguel – a woman discovers Byzantine icon painting

Mary Jane Miller is an artist in San Miguel Allende who fortunately, not only discovered the worth of handcrafts, but also that of religious iconography. Born in Nyack, NY, Miller began her art studies in Boston in the 1970s. She found the experience tough and asked for the school’s catalogue on international exchanges. She opened … Continue reading Lost and found in San Miguel – a woman discovers Byzantine icon painting

Make me if you can

Parish church of San Antonino (credit: Alejandro Linares Garcia) Magia Textil de Severa Santiago is professionally run workshop specializing in the traditional embroidery and textiles of San Antonino Castillo Velasco. San Antonino is one of the Central Valleys’ famous handcraft town, located about 25 km south of the city of Oaxaca. It was once physically … Continue reading Make me if you can

(COVID) Necesity is the mother of digital invention

This damn pandemic continues to affect the livelihoods of Mexican artisans, most likely for the rest of the year. Perhaps one good thing to come of this will be the embrace of digital resources to promote and sell Mexico’s handcrafted items. Most artisans have not really taken advantage the Internet to sell. One reason certainly … Continue reading (COVID) Necesity is the mother of digital invention

Taking Otomi embroidery to the next level

Tonani Lirio de los Valles is a 3-generation artisan family business, which has taken traditional Tenango embroidery to a new level. The family is not from the town of Tenango, but the embroidery style is the inheritance of this entire area on the Hidalgo/Puebla border called the Sierra Otomi Tepehua. The family is Otomi and … Continue reading Taking Otomi embroidery to the next level

New York-based handcraft organization working to help Oaxacan artisans in crisis

The Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art (FOFA) has launched its first of several programs to support Oaxacan folk artists who are facing tremendous financial hardships due to the global pandemic's severe impact on tourism. FOFA has invited all 165 winners and honorable mention recipients in its five young artists' competitions  (2008, 2011, 2013, 2016 and … Continue reading New York-based handcraft organization working to help Oaxacan artisans in crisis

From Grandma, with love

For Artesanias Yotao, the making of dolls has both familial and cultural significance. It is a family of textile artisans located in the city of Oaxaca, with strong ties to the traditional barrio of Xochimilco and its weavers. The women of this family embroider and sew traditional wares such as bedspreads, pillows, aprons, tablecloths, napkins, … Continue reading From Grandma, with love

Silent jaguars

Starting around twelve years old, Juana Gomez Ramirez provoked the ire of her mother by spending time making jaguar figures instead of the traditional pottery the family made to survive. Gomez is from Amantenango del Valle, a Tzeltal village between San Cristobal de las Casas and Comitan, Chiapas. It has a long history of producing … Continue reading Silent jaguars

Reviving and reinventing a nearly forgotten technique

Rene Angeles Navarro with one of his inlay boxes In 1994, professor Carlos Romero Giordano wanted a reproduction of an inlaid chest that collector Ruth Lechuga had brought from a small village in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca. He had trouble finding a person capable of doing the work until a young 18-year-old working in … Continue reading Reviving and reinventing a nearly forgotten technique

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