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.
Ok, it’s not ALL Mexican jewelry. The bead bracelets are from Guatemala–a very nice young man stopped in the shop with some beautiful bead work bracelets and I bought a few to see how they would sell. They are available right here. But if you’re looking for even nicer bead bracelets from Mexico, the handwork of the Huichol Indians is (in my mind) unsurpassed. Those exquisite and super liquid-y designs are right here but not in the above photo.
The slightly more contemporary designs of a Oaxacan arracada (bottom left corner and top right corner) are from another person who dropped into the shop, a Mexican-American woman visiting Minneapolis from Los Angeles. They are .925 silver and are beautiful. Fancy but not over the top. Those are available right here.
The lavender sachet is lovely and I bought a bunch of them in Guanajuato. They are embroidered and then some old Mexican coins are attached at the corner. Lovely gifts available here.
In the middle right box are a pair of Mazahua earrings with kissing lovebirds and a single drop. They are from just outside Mexico City and are a tried and true every day earring. The kissing birds are very typical of Mazahua earrings and they represent love, peace and serenity. Available here.
All of the others I purchased on my last trip to Mexico in Taxco. Some are traditional motifs and some are a twist on the traditional. One of them is an Aztec design combined with dangles to make a more contemporary earring. They are all sterling silver and they are all for pierced ears. Click on the following to find them:
Winged Birds with Dangles, Upper Middle (contact me, I forgot to put them on the website)
As always if you have any questions, please contact me below!
Hello New Shop! We just received these, and many more, vintage Guatemalan and Mexican huipiles, dresses and blouses. The colors are stunning and they can be worn or hung on a wall. Either way you will love the color and the amazing handwork.
Look for them when we reopen in our new location, 826 West 50th in Minneapolis, in late April or early May!
Or you are welcome to inquire before then through this form…
Because over 90% of Mexico is Catholic, one finds lots of charming and beautiful hand-made religious folk art all over the country. The saints, above, are from Guatemala, another very Catholic country. Religion is a part of every day life in Mexico, from the home altar to crossing oneself in front of every church, to the pinning of milagros, to the omnipresent image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Catholicism is not native to Mexico–the Spanish brought it with them in the 1500’s. In indigenous towns and villages one still finds religious practices that harken back to the days before the conquest.
If you’d like more about each of the pieces, click on the photo!
Here are a few shots of some of the Guatemalan saints now at GUILD. They are all hand carved and hand painted. We have lots of choices in colors and saints (St. Francis, John the Baptist, Jesus, St. Dominic, St. Anthony and others…muchos! These are about 15″ tall. We also have some that are 8″ tall.
If you can’t make it to GUILD or you are looking for one particular saint, let me know, and I can send you some photos of what’s available.
St. Dominic is online right here.