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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

05.21
2017

Eloy Santiago Wood Carving, Oaxaca, Mexico

Posted by Anne Damon in Oaxaca   /   LEAVE A COMMENT

Another exquisite Mexican wood carving from Eloy Santiago of La Union, Oaxaca. This one-of-a-kind piece is a father and son on their way to market with a load of chickens on one side and piglets on the other. Eloy always captures the whimsy of Mexico's rural life with his wonderful carving and vibrant painting. Click on the photo for our current stock of Eloy Santiago wood carvings!

Eloy Santiago Wood Carving, Oaxaca, Mexico
02.07
2017

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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11.21
2016

Mexican Nativity Scenes, Nacimientos or Creches

Posted by Anne Damon in Christmas, Oaxaca, Religious Folk Art, Wood Carvings   /   2 COMMENTS
Here are just a few of the nativities or creche sets we have (or used to have) in our online shop and in the Minneapolis store. Do you know someone who collects Nativities? Or someone who collects Nativities from all over the world?  If you have someone on your list who loves Nativities, we've got you covered. Here are just a few of the many we have in our shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Mexican Nativity Scenes or "Nacimientos" come in all sizes and in all media.
Tiny Mexican Nativity
 
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02.17
2015

Mexican Tin: The Mexican Folk Art Everyone Loves!

Posted by Anne Damon in Guanajuato, Oaxaca, Tin   /   5 COMMENTS

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.

 

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05.22
2014

Oaxacan Wood Carvings

Posted by Anne Damon in Oaxaca, Wood Carvings   /   LEAVE A COMMENT

5/22/14

I received a request to write about Mexican wood carvings and show off the ones we currently have in the shop.

I've written about them a couple of times before, here and here, and the basic message is the same. The carvings are hand done with a machete (!) from a soft wood called "copal"  that is common to the Oaxaca area--though less and less common as carvers harvest it for their work. The carving is usually done by the men though there are some women in San Martin Tilcajete who carve and paint. But usually, it's the men who carve and the women who paint. Some married couples create together which is the case of some of my favorite carvers, the Xuana family.

The Xuana's style is exemplified by the meticulous painting in the pieces below. This amazing black cat was painted by Flor.

The gorgeous black bear below was carved and painted by one of the Xuana cousins.

Look at the precision of the painting on the good witch below--and her super hip, right now outfit of stripes and patterns...

For more Xuana works...check here and here and here...

There are MANY other carvers and many different styles varying from more rustic works from La Union to the semi-rustic but still sophisticated works from Arrazola. Here are a few more examples that are currently in the shop (5/22/14).

Another one of my favorite carvers is Eloy Santiago. He carved this amazing piece of the father and son off to the mercado. There are piglets on one side of the horse and chickens on the other. Truly magnificent!

The third carving village in Oaxaca is Arrazola and the two pieces below come from there. LOOK at the detail on this foxy creature....

And last is this charming mother opossum and her three babies. Carved by Armando Jimenez, grandson of Miguel Jimenez who started ALL of the wood carving industry in the Oaxaca area, this piece is a bright red with a cheerful yellow face and those babies are separate so you can arrange them any way you like...Enjoy!

What kind of wood carvings do you collect?

 

11.20
2013

Mexican Folk Art Christmas Tree Decorations

Posted by Anne Damon in Christmas, Oaxaca, Wood Carvings   /   1 COMMENTS
It's early, I know, but people are already buying Christmas tree ornaments in the Minneapolis shop!  We have some very unique decorations and some of them are online. They are all handmade. That means they were not made by the millions by a machine.  No, they were actually designed and made by hand, painted by hand and have all of the charm of bigger pieces of Mexican folk art but in a smaller size. And they come from different cities and artisans all over Mexico. 

http://zinniafolkarts.com/collections/mexican-christmas-decorations

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02.22
2013

Brown Mexican Textiles

Posted by Anne Damon in Chiapas, Mexican textiles, Oaxaca   /   LEAVE A COMMENT
Winston Churchill said many things well. And he commented on many things.  But who knew he had an opinion about color? The esteemed Mr. Churchill said, "I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns." This post is in honor of the poor browns. They tend to take a back seat to their fellow colors, especially in Mexico. These textiles were discovered at the bottom of the pile, underneath the pinks, roses, reds, yellows, bright oranges and greens. They are a quieter bunch. I do think they have a certain beauty. But they don't always stand out. They are good listeners. They don't talk unless they have something to say. They shine when they are on their own. They never compete for attention. Many of these camino de mesas (table runners) or placemats are woven of a natural brown cotton called "coyuche," a word that comes from the Nahuatl word for coyote. On the other hand, it is possible that it is white thread dyed to look like coyuche, according to research done by an amazing textile archivist by the name of Karen Elwell. Her many photos of Mexican textiles and clothing are always instructional. 

Handmade Mexican Textiles

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08.11
2012

Teodora Blanco, Master Artist from Atzompa, Oaxaca, Mexico

Posted by Anne Damon in Artisans, Mexican ceramics, Oaxaca   /   3 COMMENTS

Clay Woman signed by Teodora Blanco Oaxaca Clay Women by Teodora Blanco The unpainted doll clay work of Teodora Blanco, who died in 1980, was an original in the history of Mexican folk art. She was well known while alive for creating the beautifully embellished clay "munecas"  (dolls) representing Mexican women doing daily activities OR fantastic human-ish figures topped with animal heads and horns. Her unique and influential work was collected by Nelson Rockefeller and she was one of, if not the first, Mexican clay artisan to decorate her unpainted clay figures with "pastillaje" or attached decorative pieces of clay. Her exceptionally skilled children, Luis and Irma, continue her tradition today.

We are sold out of all of these pieces.