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An artisan or folk artist is often described as a person skilled in an applied art who makes by hand distinctive products in small quantities using traditional methods and through experience and talent reaches the expressive levels of art in their work and what they create.
Folk Artists in Mexico are always part of a community either in the country side or the city. Is within the community life that people keep their traditions alive and can support each other. In most rural communities crafts are made in the artisans' spare time, being farming their main activity.
Mexico has more than a hundred types of clay; soft, light and hard wood; several metals such as copper, teen, silver and gold; many vegetable fibers as cotton, sisal, ixtle and agave, leather and wool; assorted stones, like onyx, obsidian, amber and opals and on top of all these a wide assortment of vegetable, mineral and animal dyes.
Mexico borders in the North with U.S.A, in the South with Guatemala,
in the West with the Pacific Ocean and in the East with the Gulf of Mexico,
the Caribbean Sea and Belize
With the availability of new materials like acrylic paintings, nylon threads, plastic beads and artificial dyes new folk styles have arose and others were improved. Most of the artisans are ecologically savvy specially the woodcarvers. Projects to replace the trees that are used in crafting styles are implanted in many communities such as the copal tree used in the woodcarvings from Oaxaca.Mexican Folk Art History and Cultural Origins
Teotihuacan arqueological site
Culturally, Mexican Folk Art arose from the blend of the different Mesoamerican cultures and the Spanish culture with Arabic and Asiatic influences.
The Spaniards brought new materials like wool and silk, new techniques such as glazing and new crafts like saddleware. The Arabic influence came through the Spanish that were conquered by the Arabs for a long time and the Asiatic came specifically from China and Philippines through the Nao of China.
Mexico is a fairly large country, its geographic diversity and the lack of road links between different regions helped to the isolation of the several ethnical groups that live in there, thus preventing them from losing their cultural heritage.
In the middle of the 20th century, when Mexico began to be a tourist attraction, Mexican Folk art received a mayor impulse, allowing the artisans to make a living from their work. New styles were sponsored by art collectors, like the woodcarvings from Oaxaca and the Mata Ortiz Pottery while colors, patterns and subjects are constantly adapted to satisfy buyers taste.
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Highlights Jose Guadalupe Posada