Alaska, Mexico and Beyond…

“One Journey Leads to Another”

Popular Art Museum

Fanciful alebrijes, exquisitely detailed black pottery, stunning textiles, and other wonderful works of art await the visitor’s viewing pleasure in the Museum of Popular Art Oaxaca.

Click on any photo to view as a slide show.

The artists of San Bartólo Coyotepec, where the museum is located, are famous for their black pottery (barro negro).  After forming the brown clay vases, bowls and characters entirely by hand,  potters using small knives and other specialized tools cut in surface designs and see-throughs. The clay changes to a pearly black color as it is fired. 

Black Pottery Vase

Black Pottery Vase

Click on any photo to view the gallery as a slide show.

Sometimes outlandish, often humorous, but always gracefully carved and vividly painted, alebrijes hold the power to make the viewer gasp with astonishment at the meticulous hand painting or smile at the whimsy of the creator.

Fantasy Creature

Fantasy Creature
Photo by Peter Martin

Click on any photo to view gallery as a slide show.

Fiber artists of southern Mexico are well-known for producing gorgeous textiles that are used for clothing, bags, tablecloths, and bedspreads. Artisans weave with backstrap looms, table looms, and floor looms, and they often decorate their weavings with colorful hand embroidery.

Click on any photo to view as a slide show.

Naptime in the Museum

A friend, Peter Martin, who was visiting the museum at the same time that we were, generously gave me permission to use some of his photos. His name appears in their captions.

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9 thoughts on “Popular Art Museum

  1. spixl on said:

    It’s a wonderful little museum!

  2. sbinshanghai on said:

    I love the fanciful use of skeletons, especially the women “Passing the News”.

  3. Wonderful post and awesome photos. This post one cannot leave at one glance. It requires a profound study and it rewards the viewer. Thank You.

  4. I would definitely go to this museum if one day I go to Oaxaca. Those alebrijes look so beautiful and exquisitely handcrafted!

  5. The alebrijes can be anything from cute to spectacular. I visited a workshop of one of the masters (the one that painted the owl) and will do a post on it. I hope you can come to Oaxaca some day because I think it’s the kind of place you would really like.

  6. Such vibrant colors, textures and patterns, Marilyn! I was quite interested to learn the process for making the barro negro.

  7. Thanks for the nice comment. If you are interested in seeing some photos of an artist making the black pots, send me an e-mail and I will send some to you directly. The photos are not good enough for a blog but are good enough to see the process and the artist at work.

  8. Alex Hurst on said:

    I can’t believe I missed this post! I would like it a hundred times over if I could. Thank you for sharing. The photos are gorgeous, and I love the black pottery. I just may have to use that for some creative inspiration (which I can always count on from your blog). Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Wow, thanks for such nice comments! Oaxaca is a very special place, and I’m looking forward to returning. Even though we are now in Alaska, I have photos and material for more about Mexico, which is good because as I now look out my window I see snow, blowing trees, gray skies, and it’s 60 degrees colder than where I was last week! What a difference a day makes. I’m trying very hard to look for new local subjects, which is challenging since I have lived in this area for 38 years. It will help me keep my eyes and mind open.

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