Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
This lady was selling a farmers cheese that she had made.
The traditional jarro de barro (clay pot) is used to make hot chocolate and ponches (hot mixed fruit punch with sugarcane alcohol.) I use one by my stove to store my wood spoons and other cooking utensils and another one as a cookie jar.
Monday, July 26, 2010
He just woke up from a good siesta. I love the colorful wall behind him, the colors of the Mexican flag.
This Perro is an antique ceramic mold that was used to make large papier mache dogs. I found him in an antique store in San Miguel. So life like.
Meet Frida! I met her at Shacter's house when she was just a little puppy. One year later, she is still so full of life and loves to play non stop.
Friday, July 23, 2010
The property is quite big with his taller, chapel art studio, greenhouse and home. Juan Torres was born in Morelia in the the state of Michoacan and he started drawing at the age of seven. He has built houses and haciendas as an architect and is also a well known painter and sculptor. This elegant sculpture graces the entry courtyard of his home. I love the elongated body of this angel!
Juan Torres has always been fascinated with Death and it appears everywhere in his work. In 1982, he was the first to make these Catrinas from clay. Many have worked in his taller under his guidance and these new artists have passed their knowledge and skills down to their siblings and children. Because of this explosion of talented artists, Capula has become the capital of clay Catrinas.Torres has perfectly captured the Calavera Catrina, the skeleton "conceited lady." I can picture her promenading down the Reforma in Mexico City in the early 1900's.
The Calavera on the Catrina's right is Emiliano Zapata. Zapata was the legendary hero and leader of the Mexican Revolution. He was raised in extreme poverty surrounded by large haciendas. He started recruiting peasants for an insurgent army way before the Revolution officially started in 1910. Later he was ambushed and gunned down by government troops in 1919. Zapata was quoted as saying, "Prefiero morir de pie que viver siempre arrondillado." (Better to die on my feet than to live forever on my knees.) I picked this Catrina out for a client of mine. It will be meticulously wrapped so her delicate fingers will stay intact.
The taller of Juan Torres will be one of my stops on my guided tour, Artesans & Architecture, in February, 2011. If you are interested in joining me, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Jose Guadalupe Posada was born in Aguascalientes in 1852. It was his brother, a school teacher who taught him to read, write and draw. He then went on to the Academy of drawing and learned lithography and engraving. After teaching in Leon for a few years, he moved to Mexico City where he was an illustrator with La Patria Ilustrada whose editor was Ireneo Paz, the grandfather of the famous Mexican writer, Octavio Paz. He later became chief artist at the publishing house of Antonio Vanegas Arroya.
Pictured above is a drawing by Diego Rivera and Posada at his engraving table. Posada produced thousands of illustrations of miracle stories, games, advertisements, love stories, rare events, natural disasters, legends.... He wanted to make the Mexican aware of their conditions and provoke their emotions. Many being illiterate, these illustrations made a huge impact.
Jose Guadalupe Posada died at the age of 62 and was buried in a pauper's grave. It wasn't until shortly after the Mexican Revolution in the 1920's when French artist, Jean Charlot encountered Posada's illustrations while visiting Diego Rivera. While Posada died in poverty, his images live on as fine examples of Mexican folk art!
Monday, July 19, 2010
Most of the homes are the traditional troje. A troje is a four sided cabin made of pine planks with a steep roof, no windows and one door. Being that Cocucho is high up in the wooded mountains, lumber is readily available.
I shot this little piece of video in Uruapan during the parade of artisans. It is of the float from Cocucho. Click on the right - Women of Cocucho
Friday, July 16, 2010
If you can believe it, papier mache originated in China, the inventors of paper itself. They used papier mache to make helmets which they strengthened with layers of lacquer dating back to the Han Dynasty (BC 202 - AD 220)! In Europe, the papier mache industry started in France and Spain in the mid 1700's. Eventually this craft came to Mexico and the papier mache dolls were created. They are commonly referred to as Munecas de Carton. Muneca in Spanish means doll and carton referrs to cardboard. They also have been called Munecas de Carnival, Las Lupitas and even, Munecas de Puta (puta meaning prostitute.)
Their painted on, old fashion looking swim suit has evolved. The hair styles have changed, earrings and glitter are more common and some even adorn a funny little hat. Many times there will be names painted on the front of their chest, like Lupita, Maria, Luz... I've never seen a Robin though.
There are several families in Celaya (less than an hour drive from San Miguel) that have been making the Lupitas for over a hundred years.
With a glue gun in hand, I secured these Lupitas to the top of the armoire in one of the bedrooms in my casa in San Miguel. Originally, I just had them sitting up there and my brother was tired of them falling over ever time he opened the armoire. Unfortunately, they will need skin graphs if I have to take them down! I particularly like the red head with the bee hive hair doo.I bought this lithograph a while ago in a little store in San Miguel. I had it framed with a simple glossy black frame and it hangs in my guest bedroom.If you can believe it, bought several of these little chairs at Cost Plus a few years ago and I love to use them with my Lupitas as a centerpiece when having a Mexican dinner party. My Mom and I have decorated our Christmas tree at the casa in San Miguel with the girls. It's even fun to use a Lupita as a decoration on a birthday gift.