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Thanks for stopping in... We’re a small Mexican folk art store located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We personally choose ALL of our hand made pieces from talented artisans all over the great country of Mexico.

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Zinnia Blog

04.24
2015

Mercados or The Mexican Market

Posted by Anne Damon in mexico trips   /   LEAVE A COMMENT

"Full of vigor, color and atmosphere, the Mexican market is a very ancient institution dating back to before the Spanish Conquest in 1521. The Spaniards recorded many vivid descriptions including that of Friar Diego Durán. Determined to propagate the Christian faith, he deplored with wry humor the fascination of the market place. 'I think that if I were to say to one of the Indian women who love to wander around the markets, Listen, today is market day in such and such a place. Which will you choose, to go straight to heaven or to go to the market? I suspect she would say, Let me first see the market, and after that I will go to heaven.'"  Chloë Sayer, Crafts of Mexico.

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03.18
2015

Small Judas Figures or Paper Mache Diablitos, 2015

Posted by Anne Damon in Easter, Judas Figures, Paper Folk Art   /   LEAVE A COMMENT
Easter is coming soon which means there will be lots of Judas figures available in the mercados of Mexico.

During Semana Santa or Holy Week, the paper mache artists of Mexico make giant (9-12 feet tall!) paper mache Judas figures that look like these miniature versions. Or they can look like the town villain, the town bad guy or even mayors or shop owners who are not respected by the gente. There will likely be images of the President, this year. He is almost universally hated in Mexico.

On the night before Easter Sunday, they are loaded with fireworks, hung above the street and then exploded with everyone in the neighborhood/town/pueblo/vicinity watching. It's their way of getting rid of the Judas figures in life...

Many people think they are devils because they have horns, but, technically, they are called Judas figures. The horns just add an extra level of impishness to them. These smaller versions (anywhere from 17"-20" tall) are also made of paper mache, come from Mexico City and inspire lots of questions and big smiles. 

Click on the photos to purchase.  If you get the message, "not found" that means they've been sold.

Judas Figure

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03.18
2015

Textile Making in Mexico by Cristina Potters of "Mexico Cooks"

Posted by Anne Damon in Chiapas, Mexican textiles, Oaxaca   /   LEAVE A COMMENT

This article was written by Cristina Potters and she's graciously allowed me to reprint here! Follow Cristina's delightful blog about Mexican cooking and Mexican life right here: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

Textile Making in Mexico: An Overview of Tradition

Paracho Contando Hilos 
This weaver, using a back strap loom, creates a patterned fabric by counting threads.

Twenty to thirty thousand years ago, early humans developed the first string, made with handfuls of plant fibers: they discovered that preparing thin bundles of plant material and stretching them out while twisting them together produced a fine thread. The ability to produce string and thread was the starting place for the development of spinning, weaving, and sewing. All three of those indigenous textile making traditions are still strong in today's Mexico.

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02.27
2015

February Trip to Chiapas, Mexico 2015

Posted by Anne Damon in Chiapas, Mexican textiles, Mexico Trips, recent   /   LEAVE A COMMENT

This is the second year in a row I've traveled to the state of Chiapas in February to purchase textiles and folk art. It's cold in Chiapas, Mexico in February and this year was the same! I wore all of my layers almost all day everyday. I was so glad to see that the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas is emerging from the terrible recession of the last few years. It was more vibrant than ever--lots of visitors, lots of hippies, lots of Europeans, lots of new restaurants, hotels and a vibrant street life. Last year a lot of work was being done on the streets, this year, it was the facades of the buildings--scraping, cleaning, whitewashing on almost every street.

Chiapas/Zinnia Folk Arts

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02.24
2015

Coconut Masks from Mexico

Posted by Anne Damon in Masks, recent   /   LEAVE A COMMENT

Coconut Masks from Mexico

These whimsical masks are handmade in Guerrero, Mexico from coconuts! Yes, the coconut is cut in half, hollowed out, various organic materials like seed pods, cones, and fibers are attached. Then the whole thing is painted in bright glossy colors. How about one of these joyful faces for your wall?

I've been collecting these for a long time and our bathroom has several grouped together in a smiling chorus.

We have changing collection of coco masks--click here for our current availability.

Enjoy!

02.17
2015

Mexican Tin Folk Art

Posted by Anne Damon in Guanajuato, Oaxaca, recent, Tin   /   LEAVE A COMMENT
One of the least known, most versatile, and most beautiful expressions of Mexican folk art is hojalata (tin art work), also known in some parts of Mexico as, lamina  or lata. Since the 1500's, this humble metal has been made more pleasing by being shaped, stamped, punched, painted and cut into a wide variety of decorative and functional artwork.

One reason it's popular as a material for folk art is that it is very light, it's strong and it's inexpensive. Along with being low cost, it's easily bent and crimped to form intricate shapes. It's a material that has been used for many inexpensive domestic products, like mousetraps or tin cups, and for that reason, can easily be overshadowed  or ignored when faced with similar pieces made of gold or silver. BUT it's shiny surface as an appearance similar to silver, which likely contributed to its appeal for making candlesticks, plates, pitchers, buckets, ladles, etc, despite its tendency to rust.   read more
01.29
2015

Stuff You Missed in History Class: Frida Kahlo

Posted by Anne Damon in Frida Kahlo, recent   /   LEAVE A COMMENT

I just listened to these very informative podcasts about Mexico's most famous artist, Frida Kahlo. What a great way to learn about her tumultuous and influential life....listen here or you can download the podcasts from "Stuff You Missed in History Class."

 

Part 1 Frida Kahlo, Stuff You Missed in History Class
Part 2 Frida Kahlo, Stuff You Missed in History Class

 

01.22
2015

What's a Great Mexican Folk Art Valentine's Day Gift?

Ok, if you're not thinking of proposing to someone and you're tired of giving the same box of chocolates, the same bouquet of red roses or going out to eat at your favorite restaurant, what could Cupid give this year to reflect love, caring, friendship, affection or just plain old, "I like you."  I've put together a few ideas of gifts which are not the same old, same old, AND tell someone you care about them.

It always helps when giving a gift, to know something about the person and what they like or dislike. That's why we have a WISHLIST in the Mpls shop. But the best gift is one that you choose because you know that person and you think they will like it based on that knowledge...here are a few ideas.

Click through to see the piece in the online shop--if you get the message, "page not found" that means it's been sold.

TRADITIONAL VALENTINE'S GIFTS
Jewelry is a pretty traditional for Valentine's Day but these earrings are different from the usual thing because they are handmade of sterling silver in the heartland (get it?) of Mexico. If you'd like to see ALL of the earrings we currently have available, go here.

Mexican Silver Jewelry

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01.04
2015

Looking Back at Zinnia Folk Arts in 2014

Posted by Anne Damon in recent, Zinnia Folk Arts News   /   LEAVE A COMMENT

I traveled in many parts of Mexico during 2014, saw lots of artisans, met lots of wonderful people, including some very cute kids, and took lots of photos, so I thought you might be interested in some of my days...

Zinnia Folk Arts Year in Review

This is Chiapas in early February. I love the hand made textiles of Chiapas and every time I go, I find more women's cooperatives. This time I visited six cooperatives and found so many skilled artisans, many weaving at their back strap looms. It's a bit of hike to get there from Mexico City or Oaxaca but it's so worth it. The folk art is excellent, the food delicious and the atmosphere clean, colonial and European-esque.

Zinnia Folk Arts Year in Review

Everywhere I go in Mexico I visit artisans in their homes, their studios, their market puestos, or in their creative environments. The above photos are just a few of the hundreds of skilled Mexican artesanos that I have been privileged to meet. They are hard-working people, with joyful outlooks on life and so appreciative of others loving and purchasing their work. I revisit some people almost every time I go to Mexico and others, once a year or every couple years, and I am always greeted warmly and with an offer of a cafecito or a shot of tequila. Zinnia Folk Arts exists because of them and I am very grateful.

The homes and studios of most Mexican folk artists are very modest, often on unpaved roads, commonly living in dirt floor homes and some times creating folk art as a side job, in addition to farming or something else. When I am searching for a particular artist there can be lots of misses in terms of finding the exact address, because so many people in rural Mexico live on a named street but without a house number, for example, many artisans I visit are on Calle Juarez s/n or "sin nombre" (without a number) so it's not uncommon to knock on lots of doors and ask neighbors for the location of the particular artisano I'd like to visit. Finding people is one of the fun and unique challenges of the job!

Zinnia Folk Arts Year in Review

Here are just a few of the many things I've found over the last year that reflect the joy I see every day when I'm in Mexico. I'm frequently asked if I'm afraid to travel in Mexico. And my answer is, No. I am not Mexican and I understand that my answer might be different if I were. And I also always make the point that I'm careful and I don't do stupid things (wittingly anyway--I did accidentally miss a flight on my last trip).

The Mexico I know is the warm and generous people, the incredibly efficient bus system, the clean and safe but inexpensive hotels and their staff, the smiles of welcome when artisans see me coming and know I will be buying, the simple, delicious and cheap food, and so many other positive things. I have never had any run-ins with the police (except when the Federales helped my friend recover her purse which she left in a taxi in Mexico City--yes, she got it back!).

Mexico is a big country and there are good people and bad people there, just like in every other country in the world. I choose to not be afraid of one of the most interesting places in the world!

Zinnia Folk Arts Year in Review

You may know that I've been in the shop at 826 West 50th for almost three years! The space changes as the folk art changes so here are a few shots of some of the colorful merchandise we had during 2014. That fabulous bike in the second photo is not mine but belongs to a woman who decorates it every year (those are fake flowers) and rides around the neighborhood spreading smiles. Both of the Otomi bedspreads in these photos are gone, most of the tin bird candleholders are gone and all of the ceramics are gone but there's new folk art in the shop now, so stop in!

Zinnia Folk Arts Year in Review

2014 was the year I hired two part-time helpers to cover for me while I'm in Mexico and to work on Sundays. I was so lucky to find Leslie and Paulette. They are dedicated, warm, helpful, thoughtful people who have almost as much love for Zinnia Folk Arts as I do. They have both been great assets to the shop and positive, enjoyable people to be around. So thank you to them!

Other people--Roy, Connie, Marla, Jean--have been there for me since the beginning and I know will always be there.

We had several events in the shop this year and here are a few photos of one of the most popular ones--making Frida Kahlo headbands and sugar skull face painting. And how about those good looking smiles?

So, thank you all for your interest and support. Thank you for permitting me to follow my bliss.

12.03
2014

Miniature Mexican Christmas Nativity Scenes

Posted by Anne Damon in Christmas   /   LEAVE A COMMENT
Some of the tiniest Mexican Christmas creche scenes are made in Puebla and Oaxaca. These little figures are 1/2" or less tall! The figures are clay and are hand formed, then painted. Some of the creatures and faces can be quite amusing. Here are a few that we currently have in stock...Click on the photo to take you to the website!

Mexican Christmas Decoration

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