Handmade in Mexico: Series 1
An intricate look at the creation process of three Mexican art forms.
Part 1: Huipil
A huipil is a loose-fitting tunic, generally made from two or three rectangular pieces of fabric which are then joined together with stitching, ribbons or fabric strips, with an opening for the head and, if the sides are sewn, openings for the arms. Tehuana dresses are crafted by Zapotec women who live in a matriarchal culture. They elaborately embroider very elegant dresses made of velvet or silk, which they wear at religious ceremonies and fiestas. These dresses were famously worn by Frida Kahlo.
Part 2: Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is a clay sculpture originally intended to teach Bible stories to indigenous people. Overall, the tree sculpture looks something like a candelabra, and traditionally consists of biblical images and narratives, such as Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden. Tree of Life sculpture is emblematic of Puebla State, where it began. Some modern designs – always brightly painted – sometimes include secular or fantastical imagery.
Part 3: Alebrijes
Alebrijes are brightly coloured, fantastical creatures, carved from copal wood and decorated in extremely detailed paintwork. Different animals and their characteristics are associated with different birth dates, and the patterns are full of symbols and meaning. Consequently, the sculpture contains often complex and personal narratives.