If you like Mexican ceramics, you may be familiar with the majolica of “Capelo” from Guanajuato, Mexico. The pieces are made in the traditional way, on a wheel, fired several times at a very high temperature and in Capelo’s case, glazed with the most beautiful, subtle colors. We currently have a number of Capelo vases in the shop. Here are a few shots…
If you’re interested in any of these or would like to see more photos and get prices, contact us via the form below! Gracias…
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.
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?
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.
The leaves are turning in Minnesota, the yellow mums and purple asters are blooming, the weather is getting cooler, and the wind is whisking in a new season. In Mexico the month of October is a time to begin preparations to entice the departed spirits to return for a brief visit during Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. It’s a time to start thinking about the home altar, made by many Mexican families, to honor and remember the dead. It’s a time to start preparing the special foods, making the sugar skulls, conceiving of and creating the marigold decorations for the gravesite and the ofrenda, and for the candlemakers to make the gorgeous candles that will decorate the cemetery and the home. It’s both a private time and a public time.
Someone once likened Dia de los Muertos to a combination of Memorial Day and Thanksgiving. November 1 and 2 are a public acknowledgement of the important people in our lives who have passed on much like what we do for Memorial Day. And it’s similar to Thanksgiving in that families prepare traditional foods and follow familiar rituals like so many American families do for Thanksgiving. The traditional colors of yellow and purple are always associated with Muertos in Mexico and the smells of the flowers and the burning copal cannot be mistaken for any other time of the year. It’s a very spiritual time–derived from the ancient rituals of the Aztec mixed with some of the teachings of the Catholic church–a time when people express their love for those who’ve died through storytelling and building ofrendas or altars.
So, what about the folk art? Lots of skeletons, large and small, made of a variety of media, skulls made of everything including sugar and lots of embellishments like papel picado, candles, and flowers. The folk art is used to decorate the ofrendas and to remind everyone that death is part of life. It also can provide a little humor. We are thrilled to have a lovely rotating ofrenda in the front window created by a local artist, Liz Pangerl of Casa Valencia, LLC which incorporates many of the traditional Day of the Dead motifs and items. Stop in!
Some of these things are in the online shop and some are not. Click on the photo to take you to the online shop.
Let me know if you’re interested in a price or purchasing something via this handy form….Happy Dia de los Muertos!
Summer is winding down in Minnesota, but if you aren’t quite ready to let it go (or you live in a warm weather climate all year-long–lucky you) take a look at this handmade Mexican folk art from the town of Delores Hidalgo. These cheerful Mexican crafts are made individually the old-fashioned way. Yes, on a wheel and then glazed and fired. They are safe for eating (no lead) and can go into the microwave and dishwasher. These somewhat low fired ceramics can chip so it’s a good idea to treat them with respect. (No juggling.)
Almost every region of Mexico makes objects out of clay. In the state of Guanajuato, Delores Hidalgo is known for making “talavera.” There are hundreds of shops selling a wide range of ceramics in varying levels of quality. Talavera is a style of ceramic work that was brought to Mexico by the Spaniards after the conquest in the 1500’s. The other city that is perhaps even more well-known for talavera and is home to many masters of the craft, is Puebla in the state of Puebla. Puebla is home to one of the best, Uriarte. The styles of the talavera in the two cities are somewhat different with Puebla being even more Spanish in tradition. Another offshoot of these functional Mexican crafts is “majolica” and that can be found principally in the city of Guanajuato. Gorky Gonzalez is one of the famous potters of Guanajuato and many people recognize the Gorky style immediately. Another well-known majolica artisan in the city of Guanajuato is Capelo.
Here’s a colorful collection of ceramic trees of life from Izucar de Matamoros, Mexico. As I’ve mentioned before there are several regions known for their trees of life and in every region the design, color combinations and style are different. These brightly painted trees are very typical of the little town from which they come. They come in lots of sizes, are meant to hold candles (though they don’t have to) and traditionally are used during important festivals and holidays such as Day of the Dead and Christmas. Enjoy!
We’re getting ready for a big corner-celebrating event this weekend AND I wanted to give you all an idea of what you can do with Mexican dishes to celebrate Independence Day. Everything on the table is handmade in the great country of Mexico!
The beautiful red runner is from Chiapas, the glassware from Jalisco, the candlesticks from Puebla and the ceramics from Guanajuato…
Enjoy mis amigos!
And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask…Zinnia