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Hidden Artisans Studios Tour, Presented by La Biblioteca

By Emma Salazar, photos by Todd McIntosh

On September 29, come to explore five hidden away local artisans in this very personal behind-the-scenes tour. Observe the step-by-step processes to create handcrafted art in studio work spaces that range from small to rustic to rural, and all of them fascinating. La Biblioteca Tours & Events invite you to discover some of the magnificent artists we have in this town. The artisans will express in their own way their sense of art, shape, and color; you will also learn insider tips about traditional Mexican crafts and at the end of their presentation, you will be able to ask questions.

Hidden Artisan Studios Tour
La Biblioteca Tours & Events
Mon, Sep 29, 10am
Leaving from La Biblioteca, Insurgentes 25
Doors open at 9:30am
Buses leaving at 10am
This tour will last approx 4 hours
Tickets available at La Tienda
Insurgentes 25, Centro
Tickets US$25/320pesos
Space is limited, buy your tickets today!

Some of the “studios” are located in a small patio, a garage or part of the artisan’s family home. The gallery may be in the living room or a garage wall. Workspaces can range from large to less than 100 square feet.

Mexico is an artistically abundant country, and San Miguel is an epicenter of skilled artisans from many different backgrounds, nationalities, mediums, and products. Unique to Mexico is the focus on custom products and design. Mass production, automation, and big machinery isn’t something we will be seeing on this tour. It may take longer to produce an art piece, but the results are true one-of-a-kind workmanship!

1. Carving Coins Jewelry

Guillermo Bravo has become a well-known artisan in San Miguel, creating amazing pieces of jewelry from coins. Guillermo carves on coins and makes coins into jewelry pieces—beautiful pendants. He does not limit himself to simply drilling the holes in the coin, he goes further, getting an openwork clear pattern inside a circular frame with  extraordinary precision. Guillermo has worked in this metier for over 25 years. He learned from his father Luis Bravo, and he considers his work unique. “It’s original because I start from a finished piece, on an already designed figure, and then I add beauty; nothing is changed in the already designed figure like the eagle of the Mexican peso, I just make it look greater, I just add beauty,” he says.

2. Papier-Maché Studio

This company was originally founded 30 years ago in a small shop in the city of Patzcuaro, Michoacan, by Pedro Hernandez Cruz and his family. After much trial and error, Pedro developed a new technique incorporating different kinds of papers, glues, and finishes along with traditional techniques. Pedro’s work has been influenced by the shapes, colors, and textures of the nature and scenery in Michoacan, as well as by the work created by the indigenous Purepechas. Over the years, their work has been influenced by cultural, social, political, and religious elements which have resulted in the creation of an infinite number of pieces, including everything from the traditional cardboard dolls to the mythical alebrijes with their unique shapes and bright colors.

3. Weaver’s Studio

Margarito Jiménez sits quietly in the courtyard of his home on calle Stirling Dickinson, weaving spectacular pieces made of wool on a wooden hand-loom. We will be able to follow Margarito while he very precisely steps up to his loom, assumes a comfortable position and, with enormous ability, reaches for the shuttle. He continues by passing the shuttle with its weft through the warp threads; the pass finished, he firms up the new weft by moving the comb forward. Margarito has worked as a weaver all his life. He was very young when he learned from his father. Margarito uses local materials and his own dyes.

4. The Rug Hook Project, Agustín González

In the small village of Agustín Gonzáles located in the central Mexican highlands near San Miguel de Allende, 20 people spend what little free time they have hooking rugs. You will find them working late at night at kitchen tables after children are asleep, or perhaps you will see them sitting under a tree in the hillside, tending the cows and working on their rugs.

Their subject matter is the life around them: mountains, cactus, cows, horses, burros, flowers, a small house, a church, ducks, rabbits, chickens, roosters, or fish. The people of the area are subsistence farmers who grow corn, beans, and squash. During our visit you will be able to see the manufacturing process of some pieces in their environment and some pieces will be for sale.

5. Metal Engraving

Paul Rodriguez began working in the art of engraving, guided by his parents, who taught classes in this technique in the Bellas Artes cultural center in this city. At the age of 17, he began to exhibit his work at the academy and in galleries, including etching techniques such as monotypes, linolios, aquatints, and etchings.


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