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Chapala's Feria Maestros del Arte: guardians of the folk art tradition Erin Cassin

"Art is a country's history and, before Mexicans could read or write, they were telling stories through their art. If this art disappears, so does history." read more

Mexico's Frida Kahlo in Oaxaca Handicrafts Alvin Starkman

The Mexican state of Oaxaca is renowned for its handicrafts. From black pottery and handloomed Zapotec rugs to silverwork and alebrijes, the collector will find a wealth of beautiful handcrafted work. ... read more

Mexican artisans of Lake Cajititlan John Pint

Halfway between Guadalajara and Lake Chapala in Western Mexico, lies little Lake Cajititlan. Although the lake produces great quantities of fish, you'll have a hard time finding a seafood restaurant al... read more

The New World Mexican Women of Tecalpulco, Mexico Reviewed by Rita Pomade

New World Women is a native women artisan group in Tecalpulco, Guerrero who decided to form a production cooperative. These skilled artisans are the original designers and producers, creating beautiful jewelry. Theirs is a cottage industry with a goal of perpetuating the region's craft tradition and creating a source of work that can keep their people at home — an alternative to migrating to urban centers or to the U.S. These enterprising women utilize modern means of communication. They communicate through their web page and via romantic novelas serialized on blogs. They write e-mail, post videos on YouTube, and have published an unusual book: The New World Mexican Women Workbook: How to Make Your Own Traditional Mexican Jewelry. read more

Antiques and collectibles in Central and Southern Mexico Alvin Starkman

The Sunday open air stalls at the Lagunilla in Mexico City, the expansive roadside shops just north of San Miguel de Allende, the stores and weekend marketplace at Los Sapos in Puebla, and good old fas... read more

Looms, weavers and the sacred snail on Mexico's Costa Chica Geri Anderson

"Don Luis, aquí. Aquí, Don Luis," yelled a group of white-shirted men. They were calling for passengers in the camionera central in Pinotepa Nacional near the border of Oaxaca and Guerrero. We had d... read more

Reynaldo in Mexico has handwoven Oaxaca rugs and more rugs Marvin West

Reynaldo the Rugman has a problem. He and his relatives have made more rugs (beautiful colors, skillful weaving) than he can sell. Reynaldo Vasquez Hernandez is a fifth or sixth-generation artisan in spring, summer and autumn and a traveling salesman — representing the entire clan — in winter. read more

Women potters of San Marcos Tlapazola, Oaxaca Alvin Starkman

Every Sunday Gloria awakens at 3:00 a.m., and begins preparing tejate, a frothy, tasty corn and cacao based drink, which she will offer for sale in the Tlacolula market. A couple of hours later, her si... read more

David Santos Alonso: ceramic art in the Mexico town of Cocucho Travis Whitehead

David Santos Alonso massaged the clay flower pot as stinging smoke skulked from the wooden cooking area. Inside the kitchen, his wife Maria Lydia prepared tortillas on a comal over a brick fogon next t... read more

Mexico's Mezcal Monkey: collectible ceramic folk art from Oaxaca Alvin Starkman


A hot collector's item, the ceramic mezcal monkey is designed to hold mescal, the spirit distilled from the baked, then fermented agave plant.
© Alvin Starkman, 2010
Designed to hold mescal, the Chango Mezcalero has become a very collectible folk art item whose history has been recounted infrequently, if at all. While by all accounts it originated in the State of Oaxaca, home of mezcal — the spirit distilled from the baked, then fermented agave plant — it's now highly sought after by collectors residing much further abroad.

The traditional Mezcal Monkey was used to hold, display and/or gift mezcal. The clay bottle is just that, usually with a stopper made of cork, or a small piece of corn cob. read more

Antonia Cruz Rafael: the ceramics of Ocumicho, Michoacan Travis Whitehead

They crept and crawled, oozed and slithered from the clay, prickly spiders and sneaky snakes and pesky lizards darting from the dark wet dough, turtles swimming to its surface, bug-eyed devils rising from the mud, all brought to life by the magic touch of Antonia Cruz Rafael. Ocumicho is part of a cluster of villages in western Michoacan known for its clay crafts. read more

A Michoacan tradition: the needlework artistry of Hermelinda Reyes Travis Whitehead

Her bold hands coax the thread through white cotton, relinquishing a fragment of the kaleidoscopic hues within her soul to cavort freely across the snowy landscape. The joints of her fingers moving wit... read more

Arte plumaria: the feather art of Martha Lopez Luna Travis Whitehead

The 52-year-old artisan and married mother of three sons only began working in arte plumaria in 1999, but she has already earned an impressive reputation for herself. A book featuring her work titled Mi Collar, Mi Pequeña Pluma (My Necklace, My Little Feather) contains photos of her images endowed with a calamitous beauty . . . read more

Building a foundation to live in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca Norma Hawthorne

Our world in Teotitlan operates on the trust of a handshake and commitment to personal agreement. We operate on the premise that it will all work out by the strength of our relationships. read more

Changing Dreams: A Generation of Oaxaca's Woodcarvers Reviewed by Rita Pomade

  You can't isolate yourself. Modernity arrives and replaces what you have. >Changing Dreams by Vicki Ragan and Shepard Barbash is a thoughtfully written and provocative book - one which should... read more

Did You Know? Most "bark paper" comes from wild fig trees Tony Burton

Besides being used as a kind of rough paper for records and correspondence, amate was also cut into human or animal forms as part of witchcraft rituals after which it would be buried in front of the pe... read more

A Chapala treasure: ceramic artisan Javier Degollado, creator of pre-Columbian reproductions Marianne Carlson

Feria Maestros del Arte has been called a "heart" show and not just another "art" show because the artists pay nothing to attend — no booth fee, no percentage of sales. We find local familie... read more

Martin Ibarra Morales - renowned ceramicist and master of detail Phyllis Rauch

I spent a long time studying the eyes of the Olmecs, the lips, noses and facial expressions of the Toltecs and those from Colima. It was the work of all who went before me that enabled me to do what I ... read more

Casa Santiago: Zapotec rug weavers of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca Alvin Starkman

Porfirio Santiago weaving a Zapotec rug in Oaxaca, Mexico Copyright 2007-03-01 Porfirio Santiago is at his loom, diligently weaving a massive 2 x 3 meter rug with traditional designs, f... read more

Michoacan's master craftspeople and their arts Travis Whitehead

Abdon Punzo Angel's thick hands tapped minute details into the menacing snout of the copper dragon that sat immobilized in a vise, its body seeming to squirm. Beside him, another shiny dragon writhed f... read more

Alejandro Rangel Hidalgo - Universal artist from Colima Wendy Devlin

In the half-light I enter the ‘horno’ or oven room. A base of reds frames the pre-Hispanic pieces in the Museum of Alejandro Rangel Hidalgo. It is easy to imagine the fiery origin of the land ... read more

Discover the magic of papelmalecho in Tapalpa Wendy Devlin

"Mexico has colorful folk art traditions," says the diminutive woman in white, pointing to a series of papier mache creations. "Ours are always amiable or nice, like a pleasant dream." Patricia ... read more

Is it sane to build a pottery studio in Mexico? Marybeth Coulter-Best

A potter's story: an answer for all those who asked A friend asked me, "Is it sane to build a pottery studio in Mexico?" I could hardly answer. I didn't even know if was sane to move to Mexico. I see... read more

Creations In Silver - By Dona Eva Martinez Charles E. Moritzky

The designs of Doña Eva Martinez are mostly 18th and 19th century with some pre-hispanic symbolism, predominantly earrings. They are of pure silver and treated to give an antique finish. The designs a... read more

Talavera - Mexico's earthly legacy from the City Of Angels Rita Pomade

There is no more glorious an experience or heightening of the senses than to walk through Puebla's exquisitely beautiful downtown on a sun drenched afternoon. Every building is a work of art. And every... read more
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