“So, why did you name the store, Zinnia Folk Arts?”
Did you know that zinnias are a flower native to Mexico? Zinnias come in lots of different colors and shapes and sizes just like Mexican folk art. I love the image of the zinnia and the possibilities for design and branding. They are annuals in Minnesota (maybe they are everywhere?) and we celebrated our first anniversary by handing out packs of zinnia seeds. We also are sending them to people who purchase something from the online shop through the month of May to celebrate our one year at 50th and Bryant in Minneapolis!
Flowers all types are pretty ubiquitous in Mexico…calla lilies, roses, poinsettas, marigolds…check out the flower markets in Mexico City if you are there. They are stunning! In addition to finding flowers in the fields, markets and homes of Mexico you will find flower images almost everywhere else. Flowers are a common motif in jewelry, in the many painted functional and whimsical objects of clay and wood and really, just about everywhere! And is it me, or do they all look like zinnias?
Ok, I guess these could be called roses. This bag was woven first, then made into a bag and it is really beautiful…
Folk artists also make them from paper. Tissue paper flowers are having a moment–take a look at Pinterest or any wedding blog. If you’re in the Twin Cities, stay tuned for the class we’ll be having at the shop on June 22–we’ll be teaching you how to make beautiful, tissue paper flowers. It will be part of the 50th and Bryant Street Fest from 12-3 that day…more details later!
WOW! We have winners! I received 44 limericks and they were so excelente! So many funny ones and clever ones and tributes to your love of Mexican folk art..I loved them and I’m thinking you might enjoy reading them too. SO, I’m changing the rules a little bit but in a good way…I’m going to post the top 15 in reverse order. I was looking for a limerick that was good limerick AND could be used as a testimonial, so these are the ones that I thought were the best for that purpose. Everyone did such a great job and I so appreciate the work…
The first place winner may pick one of the four items above and the second place winner can either choose one of the remaining 3 items or a $50 gift certificate. As a thank you to the top 15, you’re eligible for a 10% off gift certificate…contact me with your details and I will either snail mail it to you or make arrangements for you to use online or in the shop...Again, thank you so much for participating. I hope you had as much fun as I did!
There once was some folk art from Zinnia
They always knew the end from beginnia
From Mexican crafts,
To sharing good laughs.
This shop is the best you can winnia!
A gentle young lass name of Anne
To Mexico went with a plan
Seek out artists whose art
Was crafted with heart
And thus Zinnia Folk Arts began!
Carole Humphrey (thank you for thinking I am a young lass!)
So inviting you have to go in
Radiant flowers and objects of tin
Masks and textiles divine,
Glass, ceramics sublime
It’s hard to know where to begin!
A shop full of joy to our eyes
Crafts so fine and magnifico buys
Stunning bowls talavera
Grinning skulls calavera
We find treasures that always surprise.
I stopped at Zinnia Folk Arts,
To look at strange men in a cart.
I saw bright paper mache,
And wild things made out of clay.
But t’was a mask that stole my heart.
Zinnia’s, such a great place to shop
No other Twin Cities store can top.
The items are endless,
You’ll never leave friendless
How can you pass and not stop?
One chilly morning on Cinco de Mayo
Folk art I was seeking to buy-o
When I wandered in
Zinnia’s textiles and tin
Were too much for me to deny-o!
Mexican art has such style
And “Zinnia” will bring forth a smile.
Something bright, charming, new
For a gift. Or, for YOU!
Lots to see! Plan to browse a lo-o-ong while.
Want unique craft from Mexico?
To Zinnia you must go
The shop is so fine
With shoppers delight you will glow!
A passion for Mexican art
Was how our collection did start
Smiling dogs, lovely pillows
Shining tin, boney fellows
Have all found our way to our hearts.
Sally, a girl of impeccable taste
Considered shopping a nuisance, a waste
When a Zinnia visit
Revealed treasures exquisite
She returned the day after, post haste!
We bought our first piece on a whim,
A rooster on 3 dogs who grin
We bought much, much more
From this wonderful store
Now our home’s a fiesta within!
Arts Huichol, Oaxacan and more
We found this gem of a store
Things Frida, diablos
Y muchos regalos galore!
A chic mademoiselle from Marseilles
Here to shop at our huge MOA
Could not find what she wanted
Kept searching undaunted
Til at Zinnia she shouted, “Ole!”
Zinnia Folk Arts, a place we adore
Exquisite from ceiling to floor
With color abounding
And art so astounding
We keep coming back searching for more!
Love to write limericks? Or never done it before but would like to win one of the four amazing pieces of Mexican folk art in the photo?
As you know, our First Birthday is coming up soon and to celebrate we’re offering a choice of one of the four pieces pictured here (all valued between $150-$225) to the winning testimonial limerick. Here are the rules:
1. Write an awesome limerick about Zinnia Folk Arts and what you love about it.
1.1 You may submit as many as you like.
1.2 Relatives and friends may submit anonymously by sending via snail mail to Zinnia, 826 W 50th, Mpls 55491. Put a number on the limerick so it can be identified.
2. Submit it to Anne at info@ZinniaFolkArts.com by Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 4:00 CST either in the shop or online.
3. The winner will be notified on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.
4. All entrants agree to permit Zinnia Folk Arts to use their limerick testimonial in online and shop promotion, with credit.
5. The winner chooses one of the four pieces featured in this photo–large wood tigre mask, large hammered tin mirror, large wood hand covered on both sides with milagros or the large blue (no lead) Metepec platter
6. Winner will pick up the gift in the shop at 826 West 50th St., Minneapolis. If the winner lives outside of Minneapolis, the winner will pay for shipping costs.
7. Questions? Please ask!
Here’s some inspiration!
There was a young belle of old Natchez
Whose garments were always in patchez.
When comments arose
On the state of her clothes,
She replied, “When Ah itchez, Ah scratchez.”
There was a young lady named Bright
Who traveled much faster than light.
She set out one day,
In a relative way,
And came back the previous night.
I’ve just received some lovely bracelets, handmade in Peru, and they are made from old, faded textiles. They really provide a little spring lift to the winter that will never end–it literally is snowing right now, as I look out my Minneapolis window. Yes, it’s April 12 and there is a home Twins baseball game tonight–expected temp is 34 degrees.
I wouldn’t really call these bracelets folk art, but they are handmade, they do use local materials and they are based on a weaving skill that was handed down from generation to generation. I hope you enjoy them too! Definitely a little color on another snowy day.
Click on the photo or right here to purchase!
If you’re in the Twin Cities, be sure to save the date and join us on May 4 or 5 to celebrate our first birthday AND Cinco de Mayo…fun, food and folk art…Nos vemos!
There are some amazing silver artisans in the Mazahua area of Mexico, northwest of Mexico City. They have been making earrings for a very long time. They were deeply influenced by the Spanish conquest of Mexico in the 1500′s. When Spanish women arrived in Mexico they brought many new jewelry styles but in particular a style of earring that was crescent-shaped (arracada) and often wrapped in silver or gold. These styles took root in Mexican silver jewelry making and continue to this day.
One Mazahua silversmith told the author of an article on Mazahua earrings in Artes de Mexico, the meaning of the silver earrings. He said, “The stones symbolize the bright star that comes out at around four or five in the morning. The doves represent the husband going out into the fields to work, and his wife getting up to make atole. The flowers and leaves refer to the countryside, to nature. And the lines are the rays of the Sun.”
When the artisans learn to make these intricate earrings, they practice on less expensive metals such as copper and brass. Once they master the technique, they start using silver wire and silver sheets. To this day the elder artisans teach the younger. Unfortunately, not as many young people are so interested in carrying on the tradition. Like so many types of folk art, the Mazahua earring is at risk of dying out.
All of these earrings are .925 or 92.5% silver. Click on the photograph and you will be taken to the website. If you get a message saying, “This product is no longer available” that means they have been sold. So hurry!
The Huichol Indians of Nayarit, Mexico are amazingly skilled at beading. Here’s a shot of a few eggs that I have in the shop at the moment. The eggs are carved out of wood, then covered in a thin coat of beeswax, then decorated bead-by-bead. Truly lovely. Not available in the online shop because there are so few but if you’re interested in them, send me a note on the form below. They are $16 for the small and $21 for the large.
And below, is a photo of the amazing beadwork that goes into the bracelets. They move like liquid. Incredibly gorgeous. These are the last two Huichol bracelets I have at the moment and they are available right here.
Winston Churchill said many things well. And he commented on many things. But who knew he had an opinion about color? The esteemed Mr. Churchill said, “I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.”
This post is in honor of the poor browns. They tend to take a back seat to their fellow colors, especially in Mexico. These textiles were discovered at the bottom of the pile, underneath the pinks, roses, reds, yellows, bright oranges and greens. They are a quieter bunch. I do think they have a certain beauty. But they don’t always stand out. They are good listeners. They don’t talk unless they have something to say. They shine when they are on their own. They never compete for attention.
Many of these camino de mesas (table runners) or placemats are woven of a natural brown cotton called “coyuche,” a word that comes from the Nahuatl word for coyote. On the other hand, it is possible that it is white thread dyed to look like coyuche, according to research done by an amazing textile archivist by the name of Karen Elwell. Her many photos of Mexican textiles and clothing are always instructional. Her Flickr photostream is right here.
The photos below are the textiles I currently have in the shop. CLICK on the photograph to take you to the shop. Some are in the online store, but if not, just send me an email on the form at the bottom and I’ll let you know if it’s available!
I couldn’t resist with the last photo. Brilliant color with the poor brown.
Probably the three most recognizable icons of Mexico are the Virgin of Guadalupe, the skeletons of Day of the Dead and the images of the surrealist painter, Frida Kahlo. In every folk art making community in Mexico and created from every type of media, there are pieces of folk art which spring from the omnipresent importance of these ideas.
Frida Kahlo is immediately associated with Mexico and being Mexican and her images, most of them painted by herself, appear in jewelry, nicho boxes, key chains and lots of other objects that attract tourists and native Mexicans alike. She was a beautiful woman! And she has a fascinating story. Those pictures with her monkeys or her parrots make her seem even more exotic. The unibrow defies prescribed beauty notions of the time. The wearing of huipiles from her mother’s Tehuana home in the isthmus south of Oaxaca and the braiding of flowers in her hair were fashion only worn by the indigenous women of Mexico, not those of Frida’s wealth and status. She was unconventional and that’s part of the reason we find her so fascinating. She really did follow her own drummer. A hard thing to do and even harder at a time when women were sidekicks to men…
We have some folk art in the shop right now that focuses on Frida Kahlo…I’ve linked the photos to the online store (click on the photo if you’re interested) and if it’s not linked, you can still purchase it by contacting us through the form at the bottom of the page. Viva la vida!