Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Joy of Making Stuff

Growing up my mom would pack my three squealing sisters and I into a lime green station wagon and drive us down dusty backroads to little towns all over central Mexico. Men with weathered hands pounded silver in Taxco, Metepec women in white embroidered blouses turned clay into mermaids and in Texcoco they blew glass into big round balls that reminded me of planets.

I loved seeing those artisans trust their intuition and make naive art so beautiful. Not everything had to be planned. They played and had fun. So when Santiago told me he wanted to make a birdhouse I knew it would be a great opportunity to spend time together. I wanted my son to experience that same joy-the joy of making stuff.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Walk

Walking to the Christmas Market

Piñatas on their Way to Market

Vendor emerges from a Sea of Color

Young Artist Adds Finishing Touches 

Slumbering Till Christmas Day

Walking towards the Bellas Artes

Dinosaur Sized Cricket

Entering the Bellas Artes

Greeted by a Mojiganga

Smiling Señoras

Artisan Heritage of Mojiganga Painting

Bejeweled Calaca

Workshop of the Luthier

Deep Water Wall Textures 

Intersection of Color

Lonely Cloud 

Mojigangas are the giant dancing puppets that add festive energy to celebrations. Tradition dates these figures of cardboard, paper and cloth to the 1600's when they were brought by Spaniards to San Miguel de Allende. During religious pilgrimages they were designed to evoke joy and were crafted as effigies of saints and kings. Over time Mexican artisans fashioned them satirically to poke fun at public figures. Local craftsman use materials available to them and making a puppet involves creating the frame of the body in the same "castillo" style of making fireworks. The head is like a piñata and the hands are often sewn or made from paper maché. The sewing of the costumes, painting of the faces and adding of embellishment breathes personality into these larger than life puppets. There is nothing quite like seeing these lively figures dance and I filmed this last night in the zocalo.

Santiago with 2 Mojiganga Dancers

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December Adventures of the Spirit

Landing Home on both feet in San Miguel de Allende

Trim the Tree

Adding to our Santa Collection to Measure each Year

The Quiet Streets Whisper Winter Secrets

The Shadows of Piñatas Play in the Winter Wind

Christmas is Both a Solemn and Celebratory Event

Taco Stands Begin to Bustle under a Blanket of Stars

Long Lines Form to Start the First Posada

Town Tree with Handcrafted Hearts of Mexican Oilcloth

Dazzling Mary Surrounded with Radiant Light in Her Cloak of Blue

The first posadas in San Miguel de Allende date back to 1737. There are nightly posadas with  live pilgrims in costumes who portray Mary, Joseph and the Angel complete with Christmas carols and live music.