Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

June 5, 2011

Have You Tried Out Our New Store?

After many months of getting it ready, the shopping area is up and running. We are concurrently running our old and new store but want you to switch over and bookmark our new store asap because our old store will go down in a few weeks. Read below for some of our new features.

The new URL is Here: http://shop.mexicanfolkart.com/

FEATURES:
Sign up for an account to access the following features:
1. Wishlist
2. Access online your order status, shipping and tracking.
3. Access online return authorizations
4. Compare products with other products.
5. Mobile access through your iphone, ipad, blackberry.
6. Request new merchandise or special orders
7. Live Chat
8. Updated zoom photo features
9. Customer loyalty program, coming in July – repeat customers will receive special discounts.
10. Click the facebook like button to show your friends pieces that you like
11.  Watch videos of your favorite artisans making pieces that you can purchase
12.  Tales from the Road Blog – go to Info/Tales From The Road
Coming over the next several years:
Watch for new videos of artisans working as we re-live the first few years of our travels through Mexico in search of  Mexican Folk Art.  In the next several years, we will be visiting all of our old artisans to capture their stories on video and in words.  We’ll be focusing on how their lives have changed over the last 15 years and how their work is changing.   Artisans such as the Aguilar families of Oaxaca, the Jimenez families in Arrazola, the Castillo families of Izucar plus papel amate artisans, tin workers of both Oaxaca and San Miguel de Allende and more.  Watch for new merchandise from all of these artisans over the next year.

We’ll update you with the stories here, as we travel throughout Mexico.

© Dos Mujeres Mexican Folk Art 2011
all rights reserved

December 12, 2010

Virgin of Guadalupe

Today is the Virgin of Guadalupe’s day.
December 12th.
Last night, two streets down, our neighbors held the last novena for the Guadalupe and sang songs to her from 7PM until… well, they are still singing.  I awoke several times during the night to the songs La Guadalupana, Paloma Blanca and las Mananitas.  At six the rockets and fireworks took over and from the terraza you could see sparks of light and smoke and listen to some of the songs from last year’s videos below.

Today’s post is yet to be completed, but here’s what’s been happening the last few weeks.

Altars around town have been being cleaned, repainted and decorated.  This year, neighbors down the hill built a new altar which sat unfinished for many months, most likely waiting for the funds to complete it for this day.  (photos to come)

Further down, there’s a Virgin painted on a wall.  Wednesday she looked like this, and later I’ll have a photo os what she looks like today.

Throughout the week there have been live enactments by children in centro.
In our own neighborhood, two blocks down, there have been novenas and singing every night.

Yesterday, most of the altars were still undecorated except for a few red pointsettas, candles and pots of flowers.

and the flower stalls are geared up for the major altar building that will be completed today.

Every public and private altar will be decorated, every mariachi and singer in town will be visiting the altars to pay homage.

If you want a feel for what it’s like, look at the link at the top of this post

© Dos Mujeres Mexican Folk Art 2010
    GO BACK TO STORE

January 18, 2010

Our New Blog Address

We have moved our Tales From The Road Blog to a new site, be sure to book mark it!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO OUR NEW SITE

Here’s what’s new on the new blog site:

1.  Tales From the Road

2.  Photo albums of our travels in Mexico

3.  Previews of new merchandise – a first chance to purchase new items that are enroute and can be pre-ordered before it makes it up on our site.

January 17, 2010

Casa Azul, Frida’s House

The Frida Kahlo Museum and the house that she grew up in, the house she was nursed back to health in after her tragic accident, the house she learned to paint in. This was her family home, which after one of her break ups with Diego Rivera, she moved back to. She painted it blue. She and Diego later brought the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his wife here to live. She spent her last days and died here. (slideshow at the bottom of this post)

The grounds outside the room where Frida's day bed was.

I was truly stunned by the size of the grounds, as well as the design of the structures which skirted the outer perimeter near the street, different than I had imagined. I was equally surprised at how many preconceived ideas about Frida Kahlo’s life I had adopted which this visit dispelled by just being in the presence of the real thing. This always happens to me with art galleries anyway. For example Goya’s dark series, which are housed at the Prado in Madrid, you can’t imagine what these paintings really are through photographs of them. You think you can, but when you stand right in front of them, they convey emotion, compassion, anger and the power of their story and they become real. You have to spend time with the emotion they create inside you afterwards.

The same happens here. There is a main house where she grew up. You enter and the museum begins in these simple, quiet, thick walled rooms. They are filled with paintings, unfinished works and drawings by Frida and Diego. Her studio, which was built in 1946 is grey stone with large walls of paned windows, reminiscent of a Frank Lloyd Wright building, looking out into the expansive garden, through the tree tops.

As you follow along (and not in this order) you pass through the living room, Diego’s bed room – complete with a rifle on the bed, the bright yellow, incredibly charming and homey kitchen. There are rooms of memorabilia, letters, documents and drawings, folk art and clothing. Then there is her studio with large tables and desks that hold trays of old india ink bottles, mashed tubes of oil paints, brushes that hang on the back of the easel, books on art and painting, small iconic and pre-hispanic figures and toys. Her easel is on wheels, her wheel chair set in front of it and her Tehuana embroidered clothing draped over chairs. On the opposite wall there is a glass enclosed book case that spans a long wall, filled with books on Mexican history, art, prehispanic culture, poetry, Marxism, and a large collection of books in English. You are not allowed to take photographs inside, and are closely followed by a combination of guards in uniform and young men and women that look like visitors but are closely watching you.

You end up in a small alcove between her studio and her bedroom where her day bed is wedged, the famous single four poster bed that has a mirror suspended above it, where she painted self portraits and from which hangs small paper mache figures and little dolls. At this point, you have seen a good sense of a life which has been carefully catalogued, photographed, written about and lived.

Across the courtyard you pass through a large opening into another garden and more buildings which house an archive of photographs. You pass through a room with photographs of her mother’s and father’s families, her grandparents, then her own family, then a series of self portraits of her father (a photographer) posing in an intimate series of photographs including a nude of himself and as an old man, a picture that makes you think you would have liked this man. The culmination of it all for me however, was the x-ray of Frida’s spine, in which you can see the large metal plate fused in three places to her bones and you have to look away, it is so painful an image. This, along with seeing the paintings, the drawings, the unfinished pieces, which are my favorites, was touching and the perfect antidote to the cult-like trivialization, however well meaning and powerful, that has formed around her life

CLICK ON THE PHOTO to view the slideshow

There’s more on the town of Coyoacan, the famous Bazaar Sabado in San Angel, two great restaurants, one good and one bad hotel and a slideshow of photos from one of those great big Mexican bakeries in the next post.

© 2009 All Rights reserved Dos Mujeres Mexican Folk Art

Click on the photo of Diego to view the slideshow.

November 22, 2009

Weavers of Peña de Bernal

Peña de Bernal Is considered the third largest monolith in the world following the Rock of Gibraltar and Sugarloaf in Brazil.In mass, it is second to Ayers Rock in Australia and towers at a height of about 450 feet.San Sebastián Bernal sits at the bottom of the mountain, a small quiet town that claims an average life span for it’s inhabitants, of 94.7 years.


The mountain is believed to have magical properties,
Bringing thousands of pilgrims each spring equinox,
Dressed in white robes, to an evening community ritual
At the small chapel mid-way up the mountain.
The town has been bestowed with the gift
Of being one of Mexico’s 35 or so Pueblos Magicos.


On the weekend, the town is full of people,

Mostly tourists who live within a day’s ride.
Rock climbers come to scale to the top of the mountain,
Hikers skirt around the lower half.
Most likely you’ll see walkers in tennis shoes or boots,
But being as we are here in Mexico,
We also saw groups of younger women
In high heels. Go figure.
During the week, it is a peaceful, colorful ghost town.
We went last year on a Wednesday for the night.
The town closed up at seven so our dinner,
Was up on the highway, a taco stand
Which sold tacos de cabeza – eye, tongue and brain,
Or chorizo.


That didn’t stop us from enjoying the town,

Climbing part way up the Peña,
Or buying some of the fabulous wool traveling blankets.
The weavers here make many things,
The women of the town knit sweathers, shawls and vests,
But Bernal is famous for it’s wool textiles,
Blankets, rebozos, bufandas,
Which I have to say are top quality,
In beautiful natural colors and designs.
It is worth a visit to the workshops
Where the rhythm of the shuttles and pedals
That work the loom create a quiet music
As meter after meter of cloth forms at the other end.
Besides the wool, they make colorful cotton bedspreads,
Pillow covers and decorative wall pieces and rugs.

Click on the photo to go to our site where these can be purchased.

Besides the hand woven textiles,
One can find artisan foods,
Including cheeses,
Hand made candies
Artesanal jams and jellies.

The Peña has been used as a backdrop
In many Mexican movies including
La Cucaracha with Pedro Armandas and Dolores del Rio,
El Gallo de Oro with Ignacio Lopez Tarzo and Lucha Villa,
Adios Nicanor,
El Lugar Sin Limites with Isaura Espinoza
To name a few.


Although never mentioned in travel books,

Bernal has a wonderful cemetery
Which sits at the bottom of the monolith.
It has some of the more unique burial mausoleums
That I have ever seen, not to mention
Being a very peaceful place to spend some time.

Although Bernal is a tourist town,
It maintains a sense of self and place
That we didn’t find in Tequisquiapan,
Which although has many thermal baths to draw people,
Didn’t maintain the sense of place that Bernal has.
Perhaps this is because of the mountain,
Or the hand crafted textiles that are made here,
Or perhaps that it hasn’t totally given itself over
Completely to the tourist.

Click on the photo below to view a slideshow of photos which includes a short movie of the town and one weaving studio at work.

CLICK ON THE photo to view the slideshow including a video of the town and weavers of Bernal

©2009 all rights reserved.

November 2, 2009

Dia de los Muertos Altar

I spent most of the day on Calle Relox, with Elvia and her girls, watching and helping a group of young men build an altar for Jesus (Kiro) and in honor all of the other deceased of this neighborhood -parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and friends. The decorating and painting of this fountain is a tradition with these guys and is also decorated by them for every major holiday or religious festival.

The day began at 9am – a group of men on a mission carrying buckets of soapy water, hanging two story long black curtains, placing the muertos figures, plants and Xuchiles. Then the draping of boxes and tables on which photographs were placed along with tequila, beer, food and last, a giant seed and sawdust painting of Jesus (nickname Kiro) as an ironworker (his profession) and the dates of his life, 1971-2009.

Here’s a few pictures of the day.
The links to the entire slideshow are at the bottom.

P1040500

Teri, Jesus’ daughter, plucking flowers

Elvia, surveying the scene

P1040528

Little Lupita
Who wanted a picture of herself below her father’s picture

P1040541

The seed and sawdust painting.
Kiro as a skeleton ironworker, hammer and anvil, 1971-2009

P1040547

The altar at night

P1040651

Elvia and her four girls at the altar at night.
Beto, her son, didn’t want his photo taken as he had just had
An operation on his jaw, but nevertheless, played a large part,
A rite of passage for him to be included with the men
In the construction of the altar.
CLICK ON THE PHOTO to view the entire dia de los muertos slideshow

P1040646

CLICK ON THE PHOTO to view the entire dia de los muertos slideshow

November 1, 2009

Six Months Later

P1040438I met up with Elvia and her four daughters at the cemetery today. She was late so I waited in front for an hour, arms full of flowers – you know me by now, trying to video people coming in with flowers, buckets, shovels, eating a bag of home made potato chips with salsa and lime, trying not to grease up the lens of my camera, wiping my dirty hands on my white blouse. Boy are those potato chips good, I usually don’t let myself eat those, but I coudn’t help myself.

There were hundreds, if not thousands of people inside. Gravesites were covered with flowers, candles and food. Little boys were running around with plastic buckets, offering their services to get water for the flowers. Mariachis, Norteno bands and street musicians were playing. I’ll never tire of watching a group of mariachis in their white embroidered suits, carrying trumpets, guitars and violins, sing to an elderly couple who have crawled over the iron fence which surrounds the grave, to place flowers, light candles, and sit down holding hands, while they enjoy the music with their loved one.

But that isn’t the point of this post. About seven months ago, my neighbor Petra lost her daughter Maricela to complications with lupus and on the ninth day of her novenas, Elvia’s husband, was murdered by a seventeen year old boy who wanted money for beer. It was and is a terrible tragedy for Elvia’s family. Elvia has a son and four daughters, ages four to seventeen. Today, was the first dia de los muertos for them. For a while we just stood around looking at each other, waiting for someone to bring a ladder to reach Jesus’ crypt which was at the top level. While we are waiting, Elvia tries to hold back tears as she notices that someone had come earlier in the day, leaving flowers and a can of Modelo beer. She is pretty sure it was her brother Fila.

Karin decides it is not worth waiting for the ladder and climbs the crypt asking for flowers. The older girls and I break off flower tops and hand them to her while Elvia holds her in place. Little Lupita stands by finishing off my bag of potato chips. Imagine having to decorate a gravesite this way. If it weren’t so sad, it would be comical. It takes us about fifteen minutes to get it just right, with Elvia putting on the finishing touch – the can of Modelo right up front in the center.

P1040368

There is a deep resigned grief, a few minutes of reflection, hugs and kisses around and agreement about how nice it looks followed by an agreement that he will like that Modelo, which makes us all laugh even though it is hard not to cry a on a day like this.

Go here to view the slideshow of this week’s dia de los muertos celebration

October 31, 2009

Dia de los Muertos 2009

The preparations have begun P1030956

There are flower sellers everywhere. Home altars are being created, Car repair, shoe and small tiendas Have transformed into flower shops. You can’t avoid the papel picado banners or skeletons. Although Monday is officially the day, Families are already in the cemetery Cleaning gravesites, Placing flowers Spending time together Praying.

Back in town, altars are being constructed in the Jardin P1040148

The altar above is in memory of the heroes of San Miguel.


Today, I went to the panteon –
Just a few families were there cleaning gravesites, placing flowers. Tomorrow there will be more people, and Monday even more. I will be meeting my neighbors Petra and Elvia there, With flowers for Maricela and Jesus who died this year. The family has not been to Maricela’s grave since she died. Last week, Petra told me she wouldn’t go to Maricela’s grave this year. Apparently she has had a change of heart, because today, She told me she will be going after all. Elvia is going with her five children. Together they will decorate the sepulchre where Jesus rests, But the main altar for Jesus, will be on Calle Relox At the big pink fountain near the artistan market. P1030952
Monday, the transformation of the panteon will be complete, Over the top with flowers and wall to wall people. Click on the photo below to view an album of photos Which I’ll be updating over the next few days As I visit the cemetery, my neighbor’s homes, Plus a visit to our friend Juan, who is making floral xuchiles For both Maricela and Jesus.

P1040212

Click on the photo to view the slideshow