New Otomi Tablecloth/Bedspread Embroidered Textiles

Otomi Fabric

New pieces that I just brought back from Mexico! Click on the photo to take you to the online shop. Or contact us here with questions…


Build a Day of the Dead Ofrenda to Honor your Departed Loved Ones

I wrote this last year but it’s still current! The only thing I want to add is:
1. We’re building a community ofrenda in the shop this year. Bring or email your photos of loved ones (or pets) to to be included in the ofrenda.
2. We’re offering some fun craft projects on Saturday, October 26, 2013 for adults and kids to decorate the ofrenda–make paper flowers & terracotta skulls that are similar to sugar skulls
3. I’m doing my “What is Day of the Dead” presentation on Friday, November 1 from 6-7:30 at the shop, 826 West 50th. Space is limited so you must register at

Zinnia Folk Arts


Day of the Dead Art Ofrenda

Are you unsure about how to build an ofrenda for the upcoming Days of the Dead? Here are a couple of examples from one of my trips to Mexico during Dia de los Muertos. Every ofrenda is unique and personal so don’t worry about whether you are doing it correctly or not. The main idea is to make an inviting altar that will entice the spirits of your departed loved ones to return to enjoy a few hours with you over November 1 and 2.  Mexicans believe  the smells of the flowers, food and copal incense are especially  enticing. And the color of orange and magenta is traditional throughout Mexico. So here are a few ideas of what to include:

1. Marigolds: the color and smell of marigolds is believed to attract the spirits. But if you live in a northern climate, like I do, the marigolds are long…

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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?

Sacred Hearts In Mexican Folk Art

Alpaca Sacred Heart, Mexican Folk Art

The Sacred Heart is one of the most common motifs in religious folk art created in Mexico. The idea is that the physical heart of Jesus is a symbol of his divine love for humanity. The Mexican folk art sacred heart comes in various forms–with flames around it, with a crown, with a dagger through the center and sometimes with a crown of thorns–and all represent the same thing, Jesus’ compassion for humanity. In some Christian paintings it is depicted as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, topped  by a cross and bleeding.  The bleeding and wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus’ death while the fire stands for the transformative power of God’s love.

And of course, you know that almost everyone in Mexico is Catholic so these images are commonly seen throughout the country…

Mexican folk art, Sacred Heart

Here are a few interpretations of the sacred heart by some of Mexico’s folk artists. The two hearts above, hang on the wall. One is shiny nickel silver  (5″ tall) and other is a patina-ed nickel silver or alpaca (7″ tall). They are $38 for the shiny one and $28 for the darker one.

The two sets of earrings below are made of silver and come from Taxco, Mexico. The lovely crowned earrings are $38 and the pendant, $30. The stunning, oxidized earrings with lovebirds and a flaming heart are $78.  Click on the photo of the earring to take you to the online store.

Contact us through the form below if you are interested in purchasing the sacred hearts above or anything else!

To see what else we have for sale in the online shop, click here.

Silver jewelry, Sterling silver earrings from Mexico

Silver jewelry, Sterling silver earrings from Mexico, Sacred Heart

What is the Significance of Hands in Mexican Folk Art?

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked in the shop is, “What is the significance of the hand in Mexico?”

Hand motifs do appear in many pieces of jewelry and religious iconography from Mexico and though there is no absolute answer to the question,  here are a few ideas.

One of the most obvious answers is that the hand is so important to all of us in terms of making things (hand-made), performing, communicating, praying (especially when 90% of the country is Catholic) and in making us human. This is just as true in Mexico as it is in other places.  The heart in the hand (another common image in Mexico) is a traditional folk art motif, associated with the Shakers, the Amish, and the Pennsylvania Dutch.  It is widely considered to symbolize charity, or to mean something is “from the heart”. Others consider it to represent friendship, love and truth.

The hand motif in Mexican jewelry probably increased after Pablo Picasso’s gift of the silver hand-shaped earrings to Frida Kahlo in the 1930’s or 40’s. She painted herself in them and many nicho boxes and retablos created around Frida’s image contain those famous paintings. Some Mexican artisans make beautiful hand-shaped earrings.

Here are a few pieces we currently have in the shop that can give you an idea…

Nickel Silver Frida Kahlo Necklace & Earrings, Zinnia Folk Arts


Contact us for this lovely wooden hand covered on one side with milagros. It is $58 and measures 7″ by 4.35″ wide.

Guadalupe EArrings, Zinnia Folk Arts


This beautiful and amazing carved hand is covered on both sides with milagros. It costs $166 and measures 10.5″ tall by 4.5″ wide.

Nickel Silver Frida Kahlo Necklace & Earrings, Zinnia Folk Arts

SUMMER SALE at Zinnia Mexican Folk Arts!

It’s Summer and time for a sale! These pieces can all be found in the online shop, right here, and everything in these photos and a few other things are  25% OFF! Just enter the code, “Summer25” at the checkout…Check in the Jewelry, Textile, Religious, Mask and Whimsical Sections. If the item is there, it’s still available.

Summer Sale Jewelry

Summer Sale Religious

Summer Sale Textiles

We have Winners! The Winning Zinnia Folk Art Limericks

Testimonial Choices

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!
Amber Utt


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!
Carole Humphrey

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.

Carole Humphrey

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.
Neal Anderson

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?
Lin Staum

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
Richard Nelson


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.
Kathy Coulter

Want unique craft from Mexico?
To Zinnia you must go

The shop is so fine
Inventory divine
With shoppers delight you will glow!

Julie Troutman

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
Carole Humphrey

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
Maureen Welter

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!
Carole Humphrey

Arts Huichol, Oaxacan and more
We found this gem of a store
Milagros, retablos,
Things Frida, diablos
Y muchos regalos galore!
Carole Humphrey

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,
Maureen Welter

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!

Carole Humphrey