Hunting for Quality Folk Art in Mexico

You may know that I recently returned (last Monday) from a 12 day trip to Mexico. Everyone asks me if I had fun on the trip and I always have to pause just a moment before I say, “Yes, it was fun.” Because it is fun but it is also exhausting, exciting, difficult, frustrating, not relaxing, amazing, delicious, sometimes confusing and did I mention, exhausting? So many people associate Mexico with vacation, that I think it’s hard for people to imagine that I’m not sitting on the beach with a salty Margarita with Fernando!

I travel to Mexico several times a year to purchase folk art for the shop and I try to go somewhere new every time I go and I try to find new artisans every time I go. It’s the new adventures that are the most exhausting. The artisans I’ve visited before, I now  know where to find, I’ve figured out the logistics of how to get there, how to pack everything, how to schlep it to the shipper, how to get everything back safely without too much breakage or loss.

But, the new artisans are sometimes much more difficult to find, requiring stopping in corner grocery stores and asking addresses, stopping people on the street and asking if they know so-and-so, driving down narrow cobblestone streets, driving down one-lane streets then having to back out, asking people again where the person lives and then getting answers like, “Oh, he lives in the house with the wood door.”  Many of the addresses are something like, Mr. ABC, Calle XYZ, Sin Numero or XYZ Street, Without a Number. It’s not easy, amigos!

But also how rewarding! Many of the artisans I have visited are in very out-of-the-way houses in very out-of-the-way pueblos. The pleasure they have when I arrive (and the amazing warmth and generosity) and the pride of workmanship and of course, the excitement of being able to sell something lovely, more than compensates for the difficulty. And then of course the pleasure that these fine works of folk art give to my customers in the US,  is also a great pleasure.

Mexican folk art, Mexican ceramics,

This is a little family  that I found after asking 8 people in two towns and 5 different streets. It took an afternoon but as you can see, TOTALLY worth it.

How about you?  Have you had any adventures searching for artisans in Mexico?

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