Saturday, November 8, 2008

Oaxaca Craft Round-Up: Part One

Ok, so I got sick in Mexico. It's almost cliche, really. A lovely touch of Montezuma's Revenge, combined with some sort of bronchial disturbance, which I seem sensitive to ever since a bad run-in with a hazardous mosquito coil in Bali several years ago. If it kills mosquitoes, chances are it's not so good to breathe it. Even if you're not a mosquito. Which I'm not.

I still managed to make it out on a few tours to see some crafty action. Oaxaca is well-known for whimsical little creatures carved out of twisty copal wood, called alebrijes. Apparently the name refers to the fact that they are creatures from the imagination, inspired by the odd shapes the wood naturally grows into . . .What started off a few decades ago as a fun hobby has turned into a full-blown tourist driven industry in Oaxaca.

Here's a carver surrounded by some of his creations. The wood is very wet when it's carved, and it takes it several weeks to dry out . . .

And here's one of his partners painting them with acrylic paints once they've dried.

And here are a few finished critters . . . A crazy happy squirrel surrounded by funny little somewhat threatening monsters . . . but he is so hanging onto that nut . . . You can see why tourists would be charmed. Or at least why I am . . .

And here's a massive peacock. All the little feathers are built as little pegs, and come out for shipping.

Here's a giant dragon!

And here's an imaginary hummingbird-in-flight shot! (Ok, so I didn't use a flash and my hand shook when I was taking the shot, which resulted in this snazzy lo-tech effect.)

And here's one that's not moving . . .

My what big eyes and big ears you have!

Are you feeling queasy?


Ginger said...

I love color too! Gorgeous pictures and a wonderful blog !!

Claudia said...

wow, BIG eyes but so so so cute :)