Thursday, July 17, 2014

South of the Border...the Craftsmen of BAJA and beyond!

Living in Eastern Washington one realizes that the winter months are just plain cold...bbbbrrrrrr! I'm sure this seems like a very unlikely topic in light of our current heatwave, two weeks of 90-100 degree days and more on the horizon! Actually this is more a post about ART not the weather, so bear with me and I'll eventually get to the point! For the past few winters I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks South of the Border just below San Diego in the region of Mexico called Baja. Not only is it wonderful to say good-bye to my ever growing winter doldrums but I get to spend time with my dear friends who now call Baja "home"!!  
Yes, I know, I know, I promised you ART... during my first trip to Baja I made a point of exploring all of the local artisan workshops that I could squeeze into my days. The region is filled with many talented craftsmen creating in a variety of mediums. 3-Dimensional art is everywhere!  I felt as if I had died and gone to Heaven. The Mexican culture is full of bright, vibrant colors and textures. Beautifully decorated ceramics, handcrafted wooden & leather furniture, boldly designed ironwork & metal sculptures are all available to tempt you into seeking out ways that you can get them home! I opted for more easily packable treasures. I couldn't pass up the beauty of their colorful intricately embroidered clothing, the style is timeless and you can't help but smile when you wear it!!
This brings me to my ultimate share of the day... I fell in love with what are called "Alebrijes", they are small wooden carvings of fantasy-like animals & creatures. They are crafted in the Oaxacan region of Mexico by using the same techniques passed down for generations by the Zapoteca people of the area. The soft wood used for carving comes from the Copal tree that is native to the region. After carving, they are painted with bright colors and very intricate designs that make each one truly unique. When I first saw them I knew that I would have to start a collection and that is exactly what I've done. I now have 8 carvings and I'm planning shelf space for more to come! They come in all sizes, big & small, all equally detailed and finely crafted. You really need to see them to understand just how wonderfully talented these craftsmen are. 

There are great websites that showcase these works of art... Enter Oaxacan Wood Carvings in your search engine box and experience them for yourself!

See below: Here are a few pictures of my Alebrijes, just to tease you!
(The details in person are wonderful!)




Praying Mantis

Frog - Front

Frog - Back

1 comment:

  1. this is my sort of art - I bought a set of wooden wind chimes for the DH at Christmas.... just plain wood ..... might have to get hold of them and mix them up with my paints!!!!