Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas at my House

Denver had a dusting of snow last night.  The snow was the perfect final touch to my big wreath.
Another Mexican themed Christmas tree.
Colorful baskets, papier mache dolls, silver heart-shaped milagros and ceramic pots from the Friday market in Patzcuaro.
A tin mermaid (serina)
and a tin church from Oaxaca.
I wrapped many of my gifts in some beautiful paper with the Swedish Dala horse on it.  The Dala horse or Dalecarlian horse is a traditional carved, painted wooden horse statuette originating in the Swedish province of Dalarna.   I made the tags myself.
Here is Saint Lucia.  It's story of a young girl bringing light in the midst of darkness to the people of Sweden,  no doubt held great meaning for people who, in the midst of a North Sea December, were longing for the relief of warmth and light.  Celebrated on December 13, the longest night of the year, coinciding with Winter Solstice.
Matte red, shiny silver and pearl colored balls adorn the garland above the fireplace.
This box was painted by an artist in San Miguel de Allende, Renato Rivera.  It had been sitting in my basement for some time and my husband suggested that I incorporate it into my Christmas decorations. 
 So I did.  It is sitting on my kitchen counter and it is part of my snowman display.
Aniline painted angels that I bought in Oaxaca years ago.
Christmas Eve morning down at the Denver Art Museum. Warm in my wool poncho from San Miguel, Len and I enjoyed the "Her Paris" exhibition showcasing women artists in the age of Impressionism.  More on the later.
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 15, 2017

La Esquina - Children's Folk Toy Museum

One of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende is to visit La Esquina, the Children's Folk Toy Museum.   La Esquina is in an old three-story home that has been meticulously restored and is maintained beautifully.  Over one thousand Mexican toys have been collected by Angelico Tijerina over the course of fifty years. 
The museum houses three halls.  The first hall is dedicated to Jugando a La Casita, Playing Dollhouse.  Dolls of all kinds of materials representing various states within Mexico as well as household objects.   The second hall, Companeros Individuales, Unforgetable mates, is a collection of toys related to transportation.  And the third hall, La Feria, The Fair, showcases masks, piggy banks and musical instruments.
The attention to detail is seen through out and even on the windows with the wonderful bold graphics.
The Companeros Individuals hall is phenomenal.  It shows the evolution of technology from horses and carts that were eventually replaced by trains and buses and later by airplanes and helicopters and even space ships. 
Most of the transportation toys allowed movement.
 The Sanchez truck is great with its Madonna standing on the hood and the beer bottle hub caps.
I can just see a child in a small village playing with this tractor out on the unpaved street.
The collection of dolls reflects the various regions in their culture and dress.
 The Tarahumara Indians in the state of Chihuahua. 
Woven wool outfits adorn the dolls from Chiapas.  Reminiscent of the clothing the people in the Chiapas highlands wear.
The dolls from Oaxaca are dressed in colorful skirts and embroidered huipils.
I adore the papier-mache articulated dolls.  I actually have many on my Christmas tree this year.  They are made by using clay molds, then painted with natural aniline colors. Some are adorned with glitter and imitation jewelry and sometimes they will have a name painted on them.
Hand-carved wood animal musicians from Oaxaca.  Very similar to the ones that I have playing on my own mantle.
Some of my favorite pieces, like these above, are from the Aguilar family in Oaxaca in the town of Ocotlon de Morales.  Such great facial expressions and imaginaton.
And of course, there is the Loteria!  
For more on the Loteria, see my post dated June 2, 2010.
And what would a toy museum be without " La Luche Libre"!  Mexican Free Wrestling.  I love the one wrestler flying through the air, just about to pounce on the two below.
I even have a few of the Mexican mask banks displayed on the tiered shelves.  I had bought them at Mixta, a great shop in San Miguel de Allende.
A colorful display of a carnival.
More carnival
A typical scene on market day.  Music, rides, people visiting...
The ceramics are also my weak spot.  Look how this one artist made a whole kitchen from clay.
Every time I am at the Friday market in Patzcuaro, I go crazy buying little ceramic pots and dishes.
The rooftop patio is also full of folk art.  Great clay figure, just like the papier mache dolls.
A diplay of Estaban's bowls with animals painted in the center arranged on the outdoor kitchen wall.
Great views from the rooftop!
Another wonderful touch are the ceramics canales (down spouts) with roosters on each one.  I am sure they were made over in Dolores Hidalgo

Also up on the rooftop patio is this painted board is hysterical!  One year I had some of my ladies that were on one of my tours pose for me.  

One could spend hours at this beautiful museum just soaking up its collection.

La Esquina 
Nunez 40 (north-east corner of Nunez & San Francisco)
San Miguel de Allende, GTO
Wednesday - Saturday: 10am - 6pm.
Sunday: 10am - 3:00pm
Admission:  30 pesos