Gallery Open House Celebrates Huichol Art

By Susan Page

“If you leave San Miguel without visiting Galeria Atotonilco, five miles north of town, you have missed one of San Miguel’s most astonishing attractions. I always take my visiting guests there the very first thing,” says San Miguel resident Kirsten Dehner.

Open House, Galería Atotonilco, Sat, Jan 28, 12-5pm, Sun, Jan 29, 12-4pm, Located five miles north of town, next to Nirvana Restaurant, look for directions in the gallery’s  ad in Atención, 044-415-153-5365,

The Gallery is holding an open house. Huichol yarn painters and bead workers Maximino Hernandez de la Cruz and his wife Karina will be present to demonstrate their work so you will be able to see how these unusual works are created. For the yarn paintings, a board is covered with a delicate mixture of beeswax and resin. Then yarn is painstakingly pressed into the wax. Maximino never draws his images ahead of time, but works entirely free hand.

Mexico’s spiritual and artistic Huichol people live in such a remote region of the Sierra Madre Mountains that neither the Spanish conquerors nor the Franciscans ever found them. More than most Mexican indigenous tribes, they retain their pre-Columbian religious ceremonies and way of life. They still preserve valued religious stories and symbols through their stunning embroidery, yarn paintings, and bead work. These objects were originally created as votive offerings to the gods, but as the Huichols work to blend ancient traditions with modern life, they now also create them as lively works of art and jewelry to sell. The imagery in the yarn paintings is all derived from ancient Huichol myths and religious practices, dreams or peyote visions.

Galeria Atotonilco has the largest collection of both vintage and new yarn paintings available for purchase in this area. The gallery also exhibits folk ceramics; carved wood, papier mache, and fabric folk art from all over Mexico; vintage Mexican textiles; historic photographs; country antique furniture; and a large collection of colorful, undulating blown glass vases, platters and pitchers. For directions to the gallery, see our ad in this issue, our website (, or phone us at 185-2225 or 044-415-153-5365.  Except for this Open House, the gallery is open by appointment.

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