Monthly Archives: August 2012

Shop Mexico: The Artisan Sisters Week 11–Bertha Cruz Alebrijes

Whimsical carved copal wood and hand painted, these Oaxaca treasures from the studio workshop of artisan Bertha Cruz can be yours. Send me an email to let me know which one you want and I will send you a PayPal invoice. all prices include shipping and handling for the continental U.S.A.

First: SOLD. Do the Funky Chicken. Great barnyard friend to add whimsy to any cockadoodledoo kitchen. About 4″ high and 3″ wide. Incredible paint job. One piece of wood. Signed.

Second: Armadillo. SOLD. This small figure has big personality. Stands about 2″ high and 4″ long. Removable tail. Signed.

Third: La Paloma Box. SOLD.I goofed and forgot to look at the bottom when I bought this treasure-keeper from Bertha. It is not signed. My mistake brings you a big discount for this gorgeous, perfectly painted piece.









A Fast Walk Through Oaxaca, Mexico

A special treat to share with you! See Oaxaca in accelerated motion, lots of stunning visual in two minutes. Disfruta bien.

Oaxaca Walk Through from LernandoFopez on Vimeo.

Go beyond armchair travel! Come experience Oaxaca through one of our upcoming photography workshops, Day of the Dead Photo Expedition or Street Photography!

Jean Paul Gaultier, Bad Boy of Fashion, Madonna and the Virgin of Guadalupe

In 2007, French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier introduced his Spring/Summer 2007 Haute Couture Collection – Virgins on the Paris runway. It was controversial, ethereal, and evocative, garnering applause and criticism throughout the world.

                             This week I saw this collection, along with others on exhibition at The deYoung Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in Golden Gate Park.  It immediately brought to mind Mexico’s most revered saint, our Virgin of Guadalupe.

The animated mannequins draped in Gaultier’s vision of Virgin were singing hymns and crowned in areolae so magnificent, I could feel the aura.  Costuming a saint-like human figure takes imagination and courage.

In 2007, Gaultier selected a Paris strip-tease queen to wear one of his virginal outfits on the runway — a statement about repentance or redemption, perhaps?  He designs clothing to make you think, question, respond to society’s issues, ideals, undercurrents. (Gaultier clothed Madonna for her Blonde Ambition tour in 1990, see sketch below, introducing his famous cone bra — the epitome of punk style.)


In her book, Madre: Perilous Journey with a Spanish Noun, author and linguistic anthropologist Liza Bakewell discusses the Mexican man’s pre- and post-marriage image of woman.  Before marriage, she is The Malinche, the whore, sexual and fiery.  After marriage, she becomes the Virgin, revered mother of his children, unapproachable.

Gaultier captures both identities and blends them perfectly into an alluring, sexual goddess who is both approachable and revered.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk closed at the deYoung on August 19, 2012, but will travel to other locations worldwide.

Check out our two upcoming fashion design workshops in Oaxaca, Mexico, set for winter 2013.  (1) Felted Fashion Design and (2) Painting on Silk Art of the Rebozo clothing design.

Shop Mexico: The Artisan Sisters Week 10–Tin hearts Frida-style and a word about nichos

Oaxaca is filled with craftsmen tucked away in small corners of the city hammering tinware into picture frames, throbbing Frida-style hearts, and ornate boxes.  With hammer in hand, a large nail and metal clippers, they create exquisite designs in locally made metal.   The results can be as simple as a small nicho — a little shrine, altar or blessing box.  These are usually outfitted with a small glass door, empty inside, waiting to be filled with your own heart’s desire or whatever inspires you.  When you are finished, hang it on a wall or put it on a table top.

Today, the Artisan Sisters offer you a choice of beautiful tin hearts for sale, painted and ready to hang.  Finest quality tinware and painting. An inspiration to visit or return to Oaxaca!

Buy the entire collection of 4 REMAINING pieces below for $35 USD, includes shipping to anywhere in the USA.  To purchase, send me an email first!

Left:  SOLD. Tin heart with mirror, stunning crown, of red with blue accents, little turquoise dots rim the mirror.  See the reflection of the potted plant in the mirror? Measures 9-1/2″ high x 5″ wide.  An unusual piece, beautifully crafted!  Item #1.08192012.  $25 USD. Includes shipping to anywhere in USA.



Email me first to order.

Left:  Flying heart — Heart on Wings.  Hand-hammered tin and painted. This is the quintessential Frida-style heart that lifts the spirit.  Measures approx. Wingspan is 10″wide x 4″ high. Item #2.08192012. $15 USD. Includes shipping to anywhere in USA.








Above left:  Hearts surrounded by hearts!  Measures 7″ high x 5-1/4″ wide. Item #3.08192012.  $10.00 USD includes shipping to anywhere in USA.

Above right: Feathered crown heart.  Measures 5″ high x 3-1/4″ wide.  Item #4.08192012.  $8.00 USD includes shipping to anywhere in USA.

Left: Not a Heart. Circle with center mirror.  Measures 3-1/4″ diameter.  $10 USD includes shipping to anywhere in USA.


Email me first to place your order.

To order your own tin nicho to decorate yourself, contact Chiripa: Artisan Crafts of the Americas. They will give instructions with purchase! And, be sure to visit Nicodemus at the corner of Mina and J.P. Garcia or another artesania at the corner of Reforma and Abasolo for a great selection of tinware when you are in Oaxaca.

Nature science journal confirms indigenous Oaxacans descend from Asia

The roads to the Americas: ancient Native american migration patterns

nature: the international weekly journal of science, in its August 16, 2012 issue, published new findings that the Americas was populated in at least three distinct waves from Siberia across the Bering Straits beginning 15,000 years ago.  Genetic testing has confirmed this.

According to the article: 

The settlement of the Americas occurred at least 15,000 years ago by means of the Beringia land bridge that existed between Asia and America during the ice ages. Key questions about how many migrations were involved and subsequent dispersal patterns within the Americas remain unresolved. This new survey of genetic variation in Native American and Siberian populations shows that Native Americans descend from at least three waves of migration from Asia. After the initial peopling of the continent there was a southward expansion along the coast, with sequential population splits and little gene flow after divergence, particularly in South America.

Norma’s note: Indigenous peoples of Oaxaca, like the Zapotecs, Mixes and Mixtecs, are also Native Americans.  It’s fascinating to look at ancient stone carvings and paintings at Mexico’s archeological sites and see the resemblance to Asian origins.  The indigenous peoples of Oaxaca were physically isolated and have been able to maintain their native languages and traditions over the centuries, although that is changing in recent years as more people migrate away from their communities in search of jobs and more economic security.  For more about the peopling of the Americas, you can order a full nature article.  Recommended reading: 1491 by Charles Mann.

And, there are 2 spaces left in our 2012 Oaxaca Day of the Dead Photo Expedition.  We will visit the Zapotec archeological site of Monte Alban where you can see the stone carvings for yourself!