Virgins, mermaids and Frida Kahlo arrive in Puerto Escondido
I didn’t expect to see mermaids when I woke up this morning. But I just got back from the annual Dreamweavers Women’s Weaving Cooperative sale, hosted by Patrice Perillie at Casa Tejesuenos, and realized even Sundays in Puerto Escondido can hold surprises. The event features weavings from the Tixinda Cooperative in Pinotepa de Don Luis, a community high in the mountains above Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico.
They weave magic on their backstrap looms using yarn dyed blue from the anil (indigo plant), red from the cochineal (cacti bugs) and purple harvested from purpura snails. The weaving is rare and beautiful and, judging by the huge turn-out of shoppers at the event–highly-prized.
What surprised me most this year was seeing mermaids, fantastical figures and Virgens of Soledad among the weavings. Then I met master artisan Irene B. Aguilar Alcantara and it all became clear. She’s a member of the Aguilar family, renowned folk art craftspeople from Ocotlán de Morelos. You can read about their work on Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art but Irene is best known for her sculptures of musicians, Frida Kahlo, ”women of the night” and catrinas, the elegantly dressed female figures for Day of the Dead.
I was first introduced to the cult of catrinas in Morelia, Mexico (read more about my experience in Celebrating Life and Death in Patzcuaro). Today I was thrilled to be reunited with the magical quality and humour of Mexican folk art ceramics. Irene’s imagination shines through in her work and is a perfect fit with the Dreamweavers resilient spirit.
I can’t wait to see what surprises await at the Dreamweavers 2014 event.
Contact Irene at email@example.com or visit her studio in Ocotlan de Morelos, Oaxaca.
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