An Encounter with Huichol Art

February 25, 2012

Today we decided to mount an excursion by bus to Zihuatanejo, just a short 10-minute, 9-peso bus ride away. Neither of us had been ashore there since the mid-1980s, and we felt like an adventure.

We took the mini-bus from the marina lighthouse to the end of the line, near the craft market and waterfront in Zihuatanejo. We felt compelled to support the local economy, adding to our hat collection and chatting with a Huichol artist, from whom we bought an exquisite beaded vase.

Huichol Beaded Volkswagen

Huichol Beaded Volkswagen

The artist showed us his unfinished work in progress, a beaded jaguar. He starts with the form, either carved from wood, cast from a mixture of bone and resin, or sculpted in clay. Little by little, he applies a mixture of beeswax, then applies tiny glass beads by hand to decorate the piece with traditional Huichol symbols and patterns. The process takes from weeks to many months, depending on the size and complexity of the finished piece.

As we chatted, he pulled out books and magazine articles featuring his colleagues and his craft, and the most striking was an article about a group of artists who beaded an entire Volkswagen Beetle, currently sitting in a museum in Germany! [Read more…]