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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

Iconic Graphic Design Conveys How to Get Around Mexico City

Posted by Anne Damon in Mexico Trips   /   LEAVE A COMMENT
Mexico City Metro Graphic Design
One of the best discoveries I've made on my many trips to Mexico is the Mexico City Metro System. And knowing that I love excellent graphic design, I wanted to share with you a little bit about the design of the iconic designs that guide people of all languages and nationalities throughout the giant Mexico City area. For 5 pesos (approximately 38 cents) you can take the metro to many important destinations throughout the sprawling metropolis.
Before the Metro opened in 1969, Lance Wyman, who designed the signs for the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, was asked to design subway graphics to convey how to get around and to establish the identity of the subway system.
In 1969 there were 3 lines and 48 stations. There are now over 200 stations and at least 18 lines.
The icon for the station is linked to what is happening in the vicinity of the subway stop.
And here it is in action...
The above images came from Graphic Ambient. Take a look at Lance Wyman's website (below) to see more of his memorable designs.
And below is the current Mexico City Subway System map, if you're planning to go to Mexico City!
04.17

The Ocumicho Last Supper Adventure

Posted by Anne Damon in Mexico Trips, Ocumicho, Recent, Religious Folk Art   /   LEAVE A COMMENT
I bought this clay sculpture of the Last Supper made by an Ocumicho artisan when I went to the Folk Art Festival during Semana Santa in Uruapan, Michoacán about a year ago this week. The 14 piece clay sculpture above is the last one of five very different pieces, some of them with mermaids, which I purchased, packed, schlepped all over Mexico and then shipped back to the United States. While at this festival, I had an adventure with a cab driver who made it his mission to help me find some boxes for packing. We looked in lots of different places with no success but eventually he took me to the back of a giant commercial business and we both climbed into their compactor to retrieve cardboard boxes that could be used for packing these fragile pieces. All five pieces made it home without a scratch including this fine piece!
04.10

What's Up with You Selling Mexican Folk Art?

Posted by Anne Damon in Recent, Zinnia Folk Arts News   /   2 COMMENTS
Folk Art Shopkeeper in Taxco, Mexico
The most frequent question I'm asked is, "What got you started selling Mexican folk art?" 
It all started when I was in high school and lived in Toluca, Mexico with a Mexican family for the summer. I attended summer school to learn Spanish. I loved it. My Spanish improved but mostly I loved the culture of life, color, living out loud, eating scrambled eggs with chorizo at 10pm with my Mexican sister, walking to school with my friend through the cobblestone streets with dogs and boys yipping at us, going to the amazing Toluca mercado, and translating Creedence Clearwater Revival (yuk) lyrics for my younger Mexican brother. It was such a different world view from my little high school life in my little town in Wisconsin and I have never forgotten the lesson I learned then, that there is a big world out there that doesn't see life exactly the same way we do in the United States.
My first Mexican folk art purchases at age 16 were a woven colorful market basket, a tree of life (which I know now was from Izucar de Matamoros), some inexpensive filagree earrings and some tire-soled huaraches. I was the only one in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin who wore huaraches. The migrant workers in Fox Lake did, but not anglo high school girls.

I went on to study Spanish through high school and college. I eventually moved to Tucson, Arizona to be a public health nurse and worked with Mexican-Americans in South Tucson for three years. I visited Nogales almost every weekend and if not there, then drove farther south to Hermosillo or Guaymas on a fairly regular basis. My Spanish improved and my love affair with all things Mexican grew, always collecting unique and colorful pieces wherever I went.  When I returned to the Midwest I brought with me my great love of Mexico and it's beautiful approach to life--food, color, joy, whimsy, faith, family and amazing traditional arts.

When I left the Southwest, I reduced my frequent visits to Mexico but for many years I would travel to Mexico for a vacation from the bitter Minnesota winters to various locations including Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, San Miguel de Allende, and Acapulco. About that time I frequented a small shop in St. Paul called "The Old Mexico Shop" on Grand Avenue owned by Billie Young and Mary Wilson. I remember thinking that I'd like to do what they were doing. They drove a station wagon to Mexico five times per year and went town to town hunting for Mexican folk art. Billie eventually wrote a wonderfully descriptive book about the experience called Mexican Odyssey. Many of their experiences are now my experiences because things have not changed in some ways in Mexico since those days of the early 80's.
I have done lots of interesting things professionally--public health nursing, refugee resettlement, health and human services administration. I've also raised two wonderful boys who are now almost launched. I have also collected lots of beautiful pieces of folk art from all over the world. I explored the world of museums when I got a Master's in Arts Administration and worked at the Science Museum of Minnesota with their Mexican folk art collection. So, my wish to display the folk art in a way that it can really be seen and enjoyed for its beauty and creativity was influenced by lots of "looking and seeing" through my whole life--looking at photos, museums, galleries, museum shops, home design and curated collections everywhere. I've tried to combine all of those experiences in a way that makes Zinnia Folk Arts truly a one of a kind shop in the United States. And quite a few people have told me that it is that. So that makes me happy.
About 8 years ago, I decided with the support of my wonderful husband, to pursue my dream of traveling around a country I love and respect so much, to look for beautifully made and unique pieces of folk art of all different kinds of media. I've been lucky to have a friend and neighbor, Connie, who helped me immensely when I started--coming with me while I learned how to do it all in a foreign country and in a new small business. I've had lots of support from many friends, family and volunteers in and out of the shop and through my learning experiences at GUILD Collective. I now have two wonderful employees, Leslie and Paulette, and a super great friend, Marla, who fills in for me whenever needed.
So, that's what happened.
04.02

Textiles & More from Chiapas

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

Handwoven textiles are made all over Mexico and can be found all over Mexico. Almost every region and every indigenous people have specific materials, motifs, symbols, colors and natural products to make dyes that make their woven rebozos (shawls), tablecloths, runners, scarves, blouses, dresses, pillow covers and you-name-it, recognizable to that region.

I love them all. But, I have a special place in my aesthetic heart for those from Chiapas. This amazing and remote state has some of the most talented weavers and embroiderers. And the color combinations are in my favorite part of the color wheel--red, pink, green, and anything bright.

I was in San Cristóbal de las Casas in early February and was thrilled to find six women's cooperatives in the short four days I was there. Undoubtedly, there are political issues that divide and decide whose textiles are sold where, but I was not privy to that information. I was only hunting for beautiful handwoven articles of various types. I found beautiful things in every coop and every market stall in the plaza of Santo Domingo.

Some of the coops are being helped by a group of French designers in creating unique color combinations and design. Some of those designs are absolutely stunning. And many of these pieces are one of a kind.

If you enter, "Chiapas" in the search box in the online shop, you'll see some of the amazing pieces that I picked up on my most recent trip. Or stop in our Minneapolis shop to see the full array.

The color combinations are not just limited to textiles either! This church was a half block away from my hotel.

A few of the whimsical colorful critters I found at the mercado in San Cristóbal de las Casa. They will be decorating the shop soon!

Sunny, clear weather along the street of San Cristóbal...So nice to get away from Minnesota winter.

I really wanted to bring some of these fantastic giraffes home but I couldn't figure out how to pack them--they are 4-5' tall.

Here's a peek at one of the textile coops

Photo from my room at Hotel Axkan, $45/night and the most delicious restaurant...plátanos and Mexican hot chocolate every night!

 

 

03.26

Paper Mache Judas Figures

La quema de Judas or The Judas Burning is a celebration held in many parts of Mexico on the day before Easter. Very large (10-12' tall) paper mache figures symbolizing Judas the Traitor will be created and then stuffed with fireworks to be blown up in the local plaza or hung across the street in some of the neighborhoods of Mexico City.  The Judas figure can look like these below with horns and tails or they may be made as an effigy of someone who is universally disliked in the community or neighborhood--politician, shopkeeper, or criminal.

These relatively small Judas figures can be found starting soon in the Mexico City markets and at papel mache artisan workshops. Why? To blow up at home, of course! Or to enjoy the whimsical creativity of the Mexican folk artist.

 

03.08

New Otomi Tablecloth/Bedspread Embroidered Textiles

Posted by Anne Damon in Mexican textiles, Otomi, Recent   /   LEAVE A COMMENT

New pieces that I just brought back from Mexico! Click on the photo to take you to the online shop. Or contact us with questions...

Otomi Fabric
02.14

Happy Valentine's Day, Mexico Style!

Posted by Anne Damon in Paper Folk Art, Paper Mache   /   LEAVE A COMMENT

Paper Mache Heart, Mexico

02.12

Capelo Mexican Handmade Ceramics

Posted by Anne Damon in Mexican ceramics   /   LEAVE A COMMENT
If you like Mexican ceramics, you may be familiar with the majolica of  "Capelo" from Guanajuato, Mexico. The pieces are made in the traditional way, on a wheel, fired several times at a very high temperature and in Capelo's case, glazed with the most beautiful, subtle colors. We currently have  a number of Capelo vases in the shop. Here are a few shots...

Mexican Ceramics, Capelo

Mexican Ceramics, Capelo

 

01.23

Ceramics from Capula, Michoacan

Posted by Anne Damon in Mexican ceramics, Michoacan   /   LEAVE A COMMENT

Some of you know that Capula, Michoacan is famous for its artisans who make gorgeous Day of the Dead catrinas. But did you know that there are other ceramics for which they are equally well known? Here is an example of a very unusual piece from Capula. It's unusual because of the color combination--usually they are terracotta background with black fish and other designs. This one is orange, blue, cream and yellow! Super beautiful and unique. The painting in the pointillism style is superb. Click on the photo to take you to the online shop.

Ceramics from Capula, Michoacan
01.21

Otomi Embroidered Textiles, Handmade in Mexico

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

This is a beautiful placemat sized Otomi embroidery that I found in Oaxaca. The Otomi Indians live in various places--Hidalgo, Puebla, Oaxaca--and their textiles can be found throughout the country. Just be careful about the quality, they can vary widely depending on the skill of the artisan. Usually Otomi embroideries (which come in several different sizes) are done on an off-white muslin background. These 5 pieces are on a very nice black cotton. Can you imagine it framed or made into a pillow? The colors are as they appear in this photo--vivid! Click on the photo to take you to the online shop!

Otomi Embroidered Textiles, Handmade in Mexico
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