Saturday, March 26, 2011

El Mueso Textil de Oaxaca - Talleres (Workshops)

Several museums in Oaxaca among them the Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo, the Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños, and the Mueso de Textil de Oaxaca offer extensive educational programs as part of their activity. Most museums in Oaxaca also offer an extensive library. The Museo Textil de Oaxaca (MTO) calls its program Enlace Educativo. Its director, Eric Chavez Santiago was born in Teotitlán del Valle and has been a weaver since he was eight. As the coordinator of educational he directs workshops and guided tours, and facilitates the exchange of knowledge among artisans, artists and the general public. Eric says of his job, "The idea has been to educate and sensitize people about the process of the making of textiles, but also identify ways to support artisans, to open new forms of distribution, people who take a workshop never again haggle for a textile bargain."

The workshops range from traditional processes such as backstrap weaving to the most experimental like assembly of fabric and photography, painting and textiles, and silver jewelry and textiles. Eric comments that, "Over time, children began to arrive with their parents, artisans, multidisciplinary artists, housewives, and graphic designers from Mexico and other countries to take and give workshops, creating an interesting environment."

Jane washing yarns died with the pomegranate skins. The yarns behind the sink were dyed with pecan leaves.

Eric working with yarn in the indigo dye.

Eric was talking about dyeing and over dyeing with indigo. The 2 yarns on the left were grey and white wool dyed with indigo. The 2 yarns on the right were dyed with pericón (sweet marigold) then over dyed with indigo to get the greens. The class did one more skein of pericón dyed wool with many dips of indigo to get a darker green.

Some of the pieces dyed with indigo.

Eric looks over the class production.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Teposcolula like its neighbor Yanhuitlán in the Mixteca alta has two attractions, San Pedro y San Pablo, the Dominican convent founded in 1538 and temple built in the sixteenth century, and a Mixteca archeological site. Teposcolula and Yanhuitlán can be visited from Oaxaca in one full day.

The Mixteca archeological site, "Casa de la Cacica," is a walled compound and palace, or tecpan, built to house the local native nobility and serve as an administrative center.This unique complex was built during the 1560s contemporary with the main period of convent construction. It was later abandoned, possibly following the plague of 1576. Currently in the final phase of restoration and reconstruction all the structures display plain but well laid stonework. The main building, or "palace," is the most elaborate, fitted with shaped stone openings and banded at roof level by ornamental disk friezes.The friezes feature "floral" medallions carved in light colored stone and set in a matrix of dark basalt with red borders. The alternating circular and petalled disks are thought to signify royal authority and further may refer to the hallucinogenic plants datura and morning glory. The petalled disk also recalls the pre hispanic 4ollín glyph, or Fifth Sun of Aztec cosmology. Similar motifs can be seen adorning the church front at neighboring Yolomecatl, just west of Teposcolula.

The archeological work is the first project in Oaxaca to focus specifically on a major Prehispanic city and its dramatic transformation during the first decades of the colonial period. Associated with this site is a museum that contains some of the artifacts uncovered there.

Friar Francisco Marin was assigned to Teposcolula in 1541, after being a vicar for two years in Yanhuitlan. The construction of San Pedro y San Pablo is attributed to him. Andres de la Concha and Simon Pereyns famous sixteenth century painters participated in the interior decoration. They designed portals and oil paintings, according to information contained in contracts signed between 1580 and 1583. The complex includes an open chapel, temple, and the convent house or cloister. The open chapel,also called the Indigenous Chapel, the pride and joy of Teposcolula, is remarkable for the design of its spaces. It was built for the evangelization of Mixtecos, who were to occupy the atrium in large numbers.

Carvings reflect Tequitqui art. A term proposed by José Moreno Villa in his text The Mexican in the arts (1949), and refers to art made ​​by indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica after the conquest of Mexico. This intermixing of art and beliefs makes Mexican religious art unique and interesting and sheds some light on the culture of Mexico today.

From The Mexican in the Arts by José Moreno Villa,
"Es el producto mestizo que aparece en América al interpretar los indígenas las imágenes de una religión importada (...) está sujeto a la superstición indígena. Es una extraña mezcla de estilos pertenecientes a tres épocas: románica, gótica y renacimiento. Es anacrónico, parece haber nacido fuera de tiempo, debido a que el indio adoctrinado por los frailes o los maestros venidos de Europa, recibía como modelos estampas, dibujos, marfiles, ricas telas bordadas, breviarios, cruces, y mil objetos menores. No todos ellos obedecían a un mismo estilo y a una misma época"
“Blood is the product that appears on American Indians in interpreting the images of a religion imported (...) is subject to Indian superstition. It is a strange mix of styles from three periods: Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance. It is anachronistic seems to have been born out of time, because the Indian indoctrinated by the monks or teachers from Europe, as models received prints, drawings, ivory, rich embroidered fabrics, briefs, crosses, and a thousand smaller objects. Not all of them obeyed to the same style and the same time "

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yanhuitlán – part 2

The Santo Domingo in Yanhuitlán
Back to Yanhuitlán, in colonial times, Yanhuitlán was an important commercial center of the Mixtec people, exporting silk to Mexico City, Puebla, and Oaxaca city. Now the town has a couple thousand inhabitants. It’s main attraction is the Templo y Ex-Convento de Santo Domingo de Guzmán which is larger than the Santo Domingo in Oaxaca. The church started by Fray Domingo de la Cruz in 1541 and was built on top of a Mixtec temple. At the same time the San Pedro y San Pablo was built in Teposcolula by Friar Pedro Peña. The size of these temples and convents in what are now such small towns speaks volumes as to the impact of the Spanish conquistadors and the church on the native populations. Within 50 years of the completion the population that the Dominicans were supposedly saving had collapsed.

The Santo Domingo has a wide and high nave, which closes with ribbed vault, measuring 75 m long, 15 meters wide and 25 meters high. The prize here though is the main rotablo or alter piece. The main retable, in a baroque style, is absolutely magnificent. It is believed to have been the work of the famous artist Andres de la Concha and carried out between the years 1575 to 1612. It has four sections, divided by seven entrecalles and the pediment. The seven entrecalles house sculptures and oil paintings. The latter include depictions of Christ being crucified, the Resurrection, the Purisima, Magdalena Penitente, the Anunciacion, the Adoration of the Kings, the Assumption of the Lord, and the Virgin of the Rosary. Restoration is ongoing for the church, convent, and alter piece. In 1550, the construction of the convent was already in process. At present, the ex convent functions as a museum under the charge of the Institute of Anthropology and History. For a few more fotos go to my picasa web album.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Yanhuitlán - Manuel Reyes

Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán es un pueblo de la Alta Mixteca del estado de Oaxaca, situado al noreste de la ciudad de Oaxaca. Su nombre proviene de la patrona de la ciudad (Santo Domingo) y la última parte es del náhuatl. El pueblo está dominado por el Templo y Ex-convento de Santo Domingo construido a partir de 1541. También es el hogar de ceramista Manuel Reyes. Primero visitamos Manuel Reyes quien nació en la Ciudad de México en diciembre de 1972 a los padres de Oaxaca.

Mis padres son de la Mixteca Alta, en esta región del estado, y siempre me he considerado un oaxaqueño. Esa es mi herencia, mi derecho de nacimiento. Aunque he tenido la formación de algunos de los grandes maestros del arte mexicano, he desarrollado una gran parte de mi estilo artístico de mirar y hablar con los artistas locales aquí en la Mixteca.

Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán is a village in the Mixteca alta of the state of Oaxaca, located northeast of Oaxaca city. Its name comes from the patron saint of the town (Saint Dominic) and the last part is from Náhuatl.  The village is dominated by the Templo y Ex-convento de Santo Domingo built in starting in 1541. It is also home to  ceramic artist Manuel Reyes. First we visit Manuel Reyes who was born in Mexico City in December 1972 to Oaxacan parents.

My parents are from the Mixteca alta, in this region of the state, and I've always considered myself a Oaxacan. That's my heritage, my birthright. While I've had training from some of the grand masters of Mexican art, I've developed a large part of my artistic style from watching and speaking to local artists right here in the Mixteca.

En 1990 Reyes comenzó a estudiar arte en la Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas en Xochimilco, Ciudad de México. En 2003, Reyes regresó a la Mixteca a restablecido en sus raíces.

" Las lecciones que aprendí a través de mi entrenamiento formal han sido inestimables, pero obtener inspiración y han adoptado técnicas no sólo de mis maestros, a quien le debo mucho, pero también de los artistas y artesanos del barrio oaxaqueño de Nochixtlán. " Reyes trabaja en conjunto con su esposa Maricela, un talentoso artista en su propio derecho. " Lo que he aprendido de la gente de mi cultura ha sido muy valiosa para mi trabajo, el uso de un horno de leña hecho de barro y ladrillo, sobre los diferentes tipos de arcillas para esculpir disponibles en Oaxaca y la forma de mezclar diferentes tipos de los suelos para crear una amplia gama de colores de la pintura y los tonos y texturas. Al final, mis piezas son producto de mi ambiente local. "

In 1990 Reyes began studying art at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas in Xochimilco, Mexico City. In 2003, Reyes returned to the Mixteca to re-established his roots.

"The lessons I learned through my formal training have been invaluable, but I gain inspiration and have adopted techniques not solely from my teachers, to whom I owe a great deal, but also from the artists and craftspeople of the Oaxacan district of Nochixtlán." Reyes works together with his wife Maricela, a gifted artist in her own right. “What I've learned from the people of my culture has been invaluable to my work, the use of a wood-burning kiln made of mud and brick, about the different kinds of clays for sculpting available in Oaxaca and how to mix different kinds of soils to create a broad range of paint colors and tones, and textures. In the end, my pieces are products of my local environment."

Reyes explica la imaginería sexual representa en sus esculturas actuales. "He estado haciendo un buen número de hombres desnudos desde el año 2005, no inicialmente por el diseño específico, sino más bien porque eso es lo que se representa a menudo en el arte y las representaciones de las actividades del día a día prehispánica, y ese es el tipo de trabajo que he disfrutado haciendo en los últimos tres años. Cuando nos fijamos en las primeras figuras de barro zapoteca, y de hecho los que datan de los olmecas y los primeros tiempos, eso es lo que mis antepasados ​​estaban creando. varias esculturas retratar la esperanza y la oración, así , por lo tanto una parte de la antigüedad, con la cabeza mirando hacia arriba a los cielos y las manos en alto. "  Reyes reconoce que esto sigue siendo un negocio por lo que cuando los coleccionistas de hombres gays comenzaron a tomar interés en esta fase de su desarrollo artístico, que lo motivó a continuar y experimentar con el tema de la sexualidad masculina, como se representa en los códices y esculturas de civilizaciones anteriores.

Reyes experimentos con máscaras como una forma de arte. Su uso en las fiestas es común en Oaxaca, la tradición que se remonta quizás 3.000 años.  Manuel también le gusta el rock y el blues de los años 60 y 70 así como un homenaje que ha creado figuras de John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix y Jim Morrison. Para ver Juan y Jimi y más de la obra de Manuel visitar mi álbum web.

Reyes explains the sexual imagery depicted in his current sculptures. "I've been doing a fair number with nude males since 2005, not initially by specific design, but rather because that's what is often depicted in pre-Hispanic art and representations of day-to-day activities, and that's the kind of work that I've enjoyed doing over the past three years. When you look at the earliest Zapotec clay figures, and in fact those dating to Olmec and earlier times, that's what my ancestors were creating. A number of sculptures portray hope and prayer as well, so much a part of ancient times, with head looking upward to the heavens and hands raised."

Reyes acknowledges that this is still a business so when gay male collectors began taking an interest in this phase of his artistic development, it motivated him to continue and experiment with the theme of male sexuality as depicted in the codices and sculptures of earlier civilizations. 

Reyes experiments with masks as an art form. Their use at fiestas is common in Oaxaca, the tradition dating back perhaps 3,000 years. Manuel also likes rock and blues of the '60s and '70s so as a homage he has created figures of John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. To see John and Jimi and more of Manuel's work visit my web album.