Sunday, May 23, 2010

About the Mexican Alebrijes

First of all , what is an Alebrije?

the Alebrijes are papier mache and wood, colorfull monsters (half one aninal, half another) made by some talented artisans in Mexico.

Basically you can find them in Mexico City, and also in Arrazola,Oaxaca.

I have heard that the original creator of the Alebrijes, was Don Pedro Linares, who lived in Mexico city. He used to work with the "cartonería" (papier mache technique) and was used to make a lot of different figures, like skulls and skeletons for the celebration of the Day of the Death, among other sculptures in papier mache.

But the story tells that it was one day that he got very sick, and had a very high fever, that make him allucinate. In this allucinations the alebrijes were born, as strange collorfull animals, that he later will realize in paper.

And then some talented Oaxacan artisans came to Mexico City, and discover Don Pedro Linare's work, and then made their own version of them, but in "copal" and carved them in wood. The Zapotecs, have had a long tradition in carved wood.

It's said that Mr. Manuel Jimenez, was the first artisans who begin to elaborate them in wood.

The creativity of Mexican Artisans is endless.

Here are some pics!

Monday, May 17, 2010

About papier mache and cartoneria

In Mexico, as in many other countries, the papier mache, is an old technique, brought by the Spaniards, and very well asimilated by the new Mexicans.

Nowaday this techinque in Mexico is called "Cartonería", and is used mainly to conmemorate many of Mexican Festivities like for example de famous "Piñatas" that were made for the Posadas (Celebrations before Christmas that goes from December 16, to the 24).

The piñatas were made mainly with the form of a star, with 7 points, that represents the 7 capital sins, wich you destroy when you broke the piñata, even when you look the "star" (piñata) as nice an pretty you resign to this, and the gift for this resign, is the fruit and candies inside of the piñata.

Skulls, and skeletons, are other important pieces realized for another important Mexican celebration "The day of the Death". Celebrated on November 1, and 2. In this time, we remember our loved ones who are not longer living in this world.

Another important pieces are the "Judas" big images of devil, and some not wanted people, that are burned during the festivities of Corpus Christi.

You can find many of "cartonería" pieces almost in every time of the year, so if you have the chance to visit Mexico, you can sure find one of them.