It's the day before Thanksgiving and with all the madness of food prep and housecleaning, I realized that I need to take a minute to reflect upon all that I am grateful for at this moment in time. It has been five years since we began this venture...which is something that we sort of fell into, really. I didn't go to Mexico in June of 2003 with the idea of starting an import business, it just evolved and came about organically because of mainly two things: the Art and the Relationships. The art speaks for itself. It is beautiful and inspiring and gets better every year. I never, and I mean never get tired of looking at it.
Though the public events we do are always a lot of work, I enjoy watching people admire the amazing art I am able to bring back from Michoacan... it feels so good when I get to share this gift I have been given with others.
The photo above represents the relationship part of this business. I am using it this year again in promotion of my upcoming annual event for loyal Mexico By Hand customers who live in the Bay Area. (please email me if you'd like to be on the list) I can't remember who in my family actually took the photo, but the creator of that beautiful display of our copper pieces was a brilliant and talented artist, designer, and friend named Reuben Godinez. He was originally from Michoacán it turns out, and immigrated to Napa when he was 14. He received his MFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts, and went on to do too many things to mention here. We met at our first Dia de los Muertos show in 2005, and collaborated several times since then, including our most recent exhibit at the Petaluma Arts Center. Reuben loved this year's catrinas (see below).
After working his heart out on yet another masterpiece for the Day of the Dead celebration, Reuben died on Nov. 14 at the age of 34. I am so sad about this terrible loss, but extremely grateful for the opportunity to have known him through my work. His own art was contemporary and edgy, but together we appreciated the artisans of his homeland, respected and loved each other, and had fun bringing the art to those who were fortunate to experience it. I will miss Reuben, but his passion for life and his influence on me will live on.