Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Grande Maestra

 In 2011 Mexico By Hand presented the exhibit, "En las Manos de las Mujeres", featuring the artesania of master craftswomen from Michoacán, Mexico. We were thrilled to be able to bring two of the women to the Bay Area, one of whom is maque artist, Martina Navarro Gonzalez, pictured here on the right. She has been a good friend since exhibiting with us at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market in 2005, and Martina's unique story, some of which she tells in our video (see link below), always fascinates those who have the opportunity to meet her. And of course there is the beautiful traditional art she creates. Maque is an ancient Purépecha lacquer art made entirely with natural materials: wood plates or gourds rubbed and encrusted with pigments made from plants and animals. There are very few artists remaining who do this work; we've been told there are twelve, but that was ten years ago.
We were so excited to hear the fantastic news that Martina has won the most honored prize for folk art
to be bestowed on an artist in Mexico--she has been declared one of Mexico's "Living Legends"! Here's the article published (in Spanish of course) in El Universal.

On the right is one of my favorite pics of Martina and Herlinda Morales visit to the Bay Area, learning how to use chopsticks at a Berkeley Chinese restaurant.

Below, Martina Navarro of Uruapan sells her maque pieces at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, where she represented artisans of Michoacán with Mexico By Hand.

Maque pieces by Martina Navarro are available for purchase in the United States at www.mexicobyhand.com.