A perfect red: The tale of a dye - Message to the reader: Left in the sun to dry, it is about the size of a shrivelled split pea, purple-black in colour with furrowed wrinkles across the back that are filled with a remnant of white dust. Alive and in full parasitic glory it is twice that size, like a little blimp covered in powdered sugar with a syringe-like snout that sucks the life-juice out of the innocent prickly pear it has infested. What is this bizarre creature? Hint: if you gather 150,000 of them, give or take a few, you will have a kilo of a natural red dye as good as it gets. The answer, if you haven’t already hit on it, is cochineal. A while back […]
Living with dragons - While the mythical creature of the dragon is synonymous with China, its presence can be found across the Indo-Pacific. In this online exhibition, we feature artists both inside and outside China who are inspired by the dragon.
Marigold ✿ Compendium Two now released - Our Marigold issue was launched at La Calera. You can now purchase a hard copy version of Garland 2.
What we can learn from Zapotec culture - Garland in Oaxaca was a chance for us to learn more about the Zapotec values that underlined their mesmerising crafts, and particularly its place in the world today.
Manuela López-Mateos ✿ Como es tu enagua y tu huipil? - One of Garland's Zapotec community reflects on the linguistic diversity of Oaxaca, and how the language of the Ikoots is reflected in the textiles they wear. (See English translation below)
Natalia Toledo ✿ My skin bursts with the flowers etched upon my dress - Natalia Toledo is one of the strong female Zapotec voices that can be heard from Oaxaca. She gives voice to a consciousness that inhabits the "craft classic" of the huipil.
Ollas de barro y mezcal - El padre de Lázaro Monjaraz caminaría dos días a pie desde el remoto pueblo de Yutanduchi de Guerrero, sobre áridas colinas cargadas de palmeras, a través de ríos, picos arbóreos de casi 3000 metros y finalmente al valle central de Oaxaca hasta el pueblo de Atzompa, donde compraría las nuevas vasijas de barro que necesitaba para destilar el mezcal. En el largo viaje de regreso cargaba una olla en la espalda con la ayuda de una correa de ixtle firmemente asegurada a su frente. Su burro podía llevar dos ollas, pero como hacen los burros, en ocasiones decidiría cuando era suficiente y se acostaría abruptamente, rompiendo la preciosa carga. La gente en esta región no es ajena a las caminatas […]
To carve memories: The belt of El Señor de Lázaro in Oaxaca 🇲🇽 - María del Carmen Castillo Cisneros recounts the challenge of re-making a sacred belt and how it reveals ancient Zapotec memories.
An ink route from Oaxaca city to Phnom Penh 🇲🇽 - Fernando Aceves writes about the collective energy of printmaking in Oaxaca, which has reached out to Cambodia to help a devastated country recover its artistic capacity.
Daily demons and fabulous animals: In which the author finds her craftswoman but loses her cat 🎓 - Tessa Laird tracks down the maker of her treasured alebrije, a carved animal that embodies the Mexican indigenous belief in the nuhual animal spirit.
Who is the author? Oaxacan wood carvers in global economies of ethnic art - Anthropologist Alanna Cant reflects on the naming rights of alebrije makers in Oaxaca
Elizabeth Marruffo ✿ The pomegranate - Siân Boucherd follows the journey of a Mexican painter in who recreates her culture exquisitely on the other side of the world
Weaving the feathered serpent - Yunuen Perez recounts her journey across the Pacific and the feathered serpent she takes with her.
Mexico: A love I can never quite shake - Damian Smith asks himself why Mexico continues to attract despite its reputation
Después de Frida: Then comes the border complex - Jesús Macarena-Ávila reflects on the renewed relevance of Frida Kahlo's iconic work in the work of US-based artists
Woven histories of Chiapas and Oaxaca - Ansie van der Walt reviews books on textiles of Chiapas and Oaxaca
Dolores Porras and her creative atelier - Santa María Atzompa is acknowledged for its millenary pottery tradition.
A glass bridge across the Pacific - Inspired by Adelaide's JamFactory, Diego Vides Borrell establishes an international glass studio in Oaxaca.
A public offering to the dead in Puebla 🇲🇽 - Alonso Pérez Fragua describes the work of Pueblo artisans in constructing a offering for Day of the Dead in memory of William and Mary Jenkins
Ollas de barro y mezcal – Pots of clay and mezcal 🇲🇽 - Rion Toal details the exquisite skill involved in fermenting mezcal
Oaxacan jewellery: The legacy of Monte Albán 🇲🇽 - Alberto Rojas Calvo recounts the unique qualities of Oaxacan jewellery
Drawing Out the Gold – A Crown of Alfalfa by Katheryn Leopoldseder - The Melbourne jeweller Katheryn Leopoldseder manages to make epic statements out of personal adornment. Here she pays homage to a Mexican scientist was able to develop alfalfa as a non-toxic form of gold-mining.
Coco and the Disneyfication of craft - Disney's Coco animation seems to demean the life of craft in favour of mass entertainment. Yet, it seems to have a positive net effect for Mexican crafts, particularly in Oaxaca. Coco prompts the question of our relationship to the festival of El Día de los Muertos. Are we spectators, customers or living ghosts?
The dark glow of the mirror in Santiago Carbonell’s mural, Mexico City - Madeleine Kelly reviews the beautiful revolution in Santiago Carbonell's murals for the Mexico Supreme Court
Claudia Fernandez: Ceremonia - Madeleine Kelly's article about Claudia Fernandez reveals practice that oscillates between that of an artist who circulates objects and a curator who heals the wound modernity inflicted on hand-made creations. Her work responds to a range of Mexican crafts.
Second Home - Shelter is a key element of life on earth. Humans construct homes, birds weave nests, insects make cocoons, animals develop skin, sea creatures and nuts grow shells for protection.
Dear Adelaida - Dear Adelaida, Four years ago, I purchased one of your figurines in San Antonio, Texas, from a Mexican folk art store packed with the usual Frida shopping bags, wrestling masks, ceramic jugs and embossed tin picture frames. There were some beautiful arboles de la vida, colourful ceramic trees of life, festooned with birds and flowers on wires, so their leafy canopies shimmered. But these were expensive, and hard to carry. I still had to get back to New Zealand. Venturing into the basement, scanning shelves of dusty trinkets, I saw your work. Finding an object you adore is like meeting the gaze of a potential love interest. There is a moment of shyness. Could this be the one? You don’t […]
Across space and through time: glass and its value - Valeria Florescano looks through glass to see an unfinished creative exchange between Aztecs and Spanish colonisers.