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Hummingbirds Abound in Artisan Exhibition

arbol vida Olga Diaz



By Alfredo García-Lucio

An exhibition of the work of artisans from different parts of México will be on display at Camino Silvestre, beginning December 29.

Hummingbirds have always played an important part in México’s folklore and traditions, both in ancient and modern times. More than 53 species of this acrobatic bird live in the country, and 14 of them migrate to the US and Canada.

The ancient cultures of the Americas used the hummingbird as a symbol of their gods, of fertility, and even war. The Aztec god Huitzilapochli, who is said to have led the Aztecs to Tenochtitlan (currently México City), was represented as a hummingbird, and the Mayans believed that the sun would disguise itself as a hummingbird to visit the moon. Images of hummingbirds adorn México’s ancient pottery, tombs, and pyramids, and artisans have not stopped using them in their work since. The birds are one of the most Mexican of images, whether carved into wood, pottery, or glass, or painted into highly stylized trays or figurines.

This show will feature artists from the states of Guadalajara, Michoacán, Hidalgo, Estado de México, and Chihuahua. One artist, Gorky González, has created special pieces painted with hummingbirds on his famous majolica earthenware especially for the exhibition. Traditional arboles de la vida (trees of life) from the state of México are traditionally adorned with biblical scenes and flowers, but for this collective show, artisans from Metepec, including the world-famous Montoya family, have created large and small ceramic sculptures with hundreds of hummingbirds flying about.

Longtime San Miguel de Allende resident Charley Hall has worked with Camino Silvestre for years, creating a beautiful pattern of hummingbirds flitting about flowers. His artisans carve the designs into recycled glass using a technique called pepita (the Spanish word for pumpkin seed). Charley’s workshop has created unique pieces for this exhibition in addition to the glassware he currently sells at Camino Silvestre.

Also, local women from the outlying communities near La Huerta have created beautiful embroidered pieces on large muslin panels for this exhibit. Each hummingbird is unique, as are the women’s interpretations of these joyas voladores (flying jewels), as the Spanish explorers first described them more than 400 years ago.


Art Opening

“Hummingbirds in Mexican Craft”

Sat, Dec 29, 5–8pm

Camino Silvestre

Correo 43, Centro



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