Alaska, Mexico and Beyond…

“One Journey Leads to Another”

Archive for the tag “artists”

Noche de Rabanos (Night of Radishes) 2016

Noche de Rabanos (Night of Radishes) is a splendid one day creative extravaganza unique to the city of Oaxaca. Imaginative people from around the state have been working on designs for many months, and on December 23 they display their artwork for the enjoyment and amazement of thousands of onlookers, plus they have a chance to win a prize!
Click on any image to enlarge or see a slide show.


Photo by Rick

We begin our day by eating breakfast in one of the outdoor restaurants that surround the zócalo, the main plaza of Oaxaca where the event takes place. We enjoy watching people construct and put the finishing touches to their depictions of daily life, history, religion, and culture. Some of the radish carvings are done at the last minute!   Every tiny piece of the work must be of natural materials – no wire or plastic – and most of the radish figures are held together with toothpicks.

There are three categories of materials: specially grown giant rabanos (radishes), flor inmortal (looks like what I know as straw flowers), and totomoxtle, or corn husks.

Some photos show entire displays so you can see how elaborate they are, and some are of small sections to show the incredible detail. Photographer friend Rick Impett contributed some excellent photos – thanks, Rick!



Photo by Rick










Photo by Rick

Living lives surrounded with artisans creating textiles, carvings, metalwork, pottery, painting, music and dancing, children of Oaxaca learn to become artists, musicians and craftspeople at a very young age. It’s wonderful to see!




HIKING OAXACA: Zegache to Ocotlán

All dressed up for the Day of the Dead festivities, this happy couple greeted us in the village of Zegache, where our hike began.

click on any photo to enlarge it   


The group gathered in front of the spectacular church of Santa Ana Zegache. No matter how many times I visit this church, its vivid colors entice me to take just a few more photos!


We headed out across a  flat and peaceful agricultural valley toward the villages of San Antonino and Ocotlán.  It’s wonderful to see small fields with several  varieties of vegetables instead of gigantic agribusiness farms. People grow many vegetables for sale in local markets, and they use oxen and horses to pull plows and wagons. Farmers in some villages collectively own a tractor and everyone can use it!

Brilliant marigolds and red cockscombs are the favored flowers for Day of the Dead celebrations, and people were cutting them and hauling wagon loads to the cemeteries to use for decorating the graves of their ancestors.


Yet another beautifully painted church in San Antonino



Ocotlán was the home of well known artist Rodolfo Morales, and these are sections of a huge mural he painted behind the portico of the municipal building.

And then… what luck! We spotted a sidewalk mezcal bar and joined some locals for a welcome and unexpected end of hike treat!


For more photos of this and other colorful churches:
For a short biography on Rodolfo Morales:
For interesting information about the saints inside the church:

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge #45


Live Statue? Street Mime? I don’t know the official name for these street characters – they are not really mimes because they don’t move, barely blinking an eye. And being people, they aren’t really statues. But always they are inventive and entertaining! This fellow sat in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Enjoy other Odd Ball Photos here:

Copper Artisans of Santa Clara

Copper, it’s polished surface almost blinding in the Mexican sunlight, has been part of life in Santa Clara del Cobre since the Pre-Hispanic era, when the Purépecha people developed methods for using copper to create jewelry, vases, pots, axes, and  innumerable other decorative and useful items. After the Conquest, the Spanish began mining the area, depleting the mines by the mid 20th century.  Today copper artisans hammer out a wide array of brilliant copper items from tiny pea-sized bells to entire doors, using mostly recycled copper cable from telephone and electric companies.

Treasure box created with copper and silver inlay.


Knowledge of the traditional techniques has been passed down through families for generations, and more than 250 family workshops are scattered throughout the town of Santa Clara, located about 20 km from Pátzcuaro in the state of Michoacán. Craftsmen welcome visitors into their workshops to watch them transform a wad of used copper wire into a sink, a shining sun for the garden, or maybe even a bathtub!

Welcome to Cobre El Portón

Welcome to Cobre El Portón

Gleaming pots surrounded the doorway of Cobre El Portón, and my admiration grew as I meandered through two large showrooms and a courtyard, all stacked with an amazing variety of copperware. Artisans spend their days in work areas behind the shops, imagining a form and then melting and hammering it into existence.



The process of copper creation is described below.

Click on any photo for a larger view and complete captions.


Craftsmen repeat this process until the disc is the desired thickness, depending on the envisioned product. He then rests the disc on a metal rod that is buried in the ground and begins hammering it into the imagined shape. If a specialized tool is needed, he manufactures one for himself!

Ball peen hammers create a textured finish for sinks or pots. Acids and other treatments can change the color from glowing copper to green or shades of rust. Embellishing with engraving, etching, and silver inlay adds to the beauty of much of the copper work.

Business card lies on an oxidized copper switch plate.

Business card lies on an oxidized copper switch plate.The tiny bell may have been formed by casting.


Traditionally women were not involved in the copper industry because of the great upper body strength needed for hammering with sledgehammers and other heavy tools. In the late 1970’s, jewelry artist Ana Pellicer began teaching women to make copper beads, and this skill allowed them to grow into copper artists in their own right.

Shiny copper doors led into a courtyard where a demonstration forge was set up. Kids loved working the huge bellows!

The porch of an outdoor cafe was the perfect vantage point to watch the vendors showing off their wares and the shoppers trying to decide! A friendly young waiter set my plate of scrambled eggs with spicy chorizo and tortillas on top of this copper plate. Heated by the sun, it kept my breakfast toasty warm!

Get a glimpse of furniture and more that is available from Cobre El Portón:

What Do the Walls Say?

Read more…

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