Mexican arts and crafts showcase national traditions and a life-affirming spirit. With importers interested in buying and selling Mexican products, collectors, independent stores and wholesale companies seek out the most authentic artwork in the country to sell abroad. Individuals can also get involved—importers look for individuals to sell handmade Mexican artwork privately, sharing the profits they earn with Mexican artists and import companies.
Mata Ortiz Pottery
In the Northern Chihuahua desert in Mexico, there once existed a cultural and trading centre known as "Casas Grandes." Explorers unearthed gorgeous handmade pottery with intricate designs and pottery spinning techniques without a trace of the methods or artisans who created the pottery. In the 1970s, Juan Quezada resurrected the ancient ceramic tradition using the pottery-spinning method called "single coil." Each Mata Ortiz pot incorporates only local materials found in the nearby Mexican mountains and does not use a potter's wheel. Instead, each potter turns and moulds the clay by hand. Companies such as La Fuente Imports distribute the pottery around the world.
Masks & Paper Mache
Traditional handmade masks, worn during Carnival and Holy Week and on the Day of the Dead, mark a historical artistic Mexican tradition. Imported masks to the U.S. and other countries are largely hand-carved from local woods such as copal from the Mexican state of Guerrerro, or are made from copper or paper mache. Collectors display these masks on walls or in cases or store them for the next celebration.
Day of the Dead Skeletons
Dia de los Muertos, or "Day of the Dead," is a Mexican memorial celebrated annually in Mexico and in destinations around the world on November 1st and 2nd. Tradition holds that the dead return to visit with the living on these two days. The living receive the dead joyfully, like a happy funeral, playing music, sharing national foods and drinks and parading through the streets with humorous skeleton art. Skeleton figurines and masks—made of paper mache, clay, copper or hardened sugar—decorate home altars and cemeteries throughout the country.
Handwoven Mexican rugs and tapestries decorate homes across Latin America, the U.S. and other countries around the world. Each rug, in either a fine or thick knit, weaves together traditional earth-tone colours and vibrant zigzag or floral designs. Art dealers and furnishing importers choose rugs to sell that show local traditions and weaving styles based on the rug's home region.
Spaniards borrowed from Arabic pottery styles when creating ceramic pottery. In the 16th century, the Spaniards introduced these pottery traditions to Mexican artisans. Since then Mexican artists have given the ceramic pottery, called Talavera, national flavour. Talavera tiles exhibit hand-painted designs, a milky-white glaze and swooping, crest-like designs. Collectors like to use the tiles for mosaic projects, flooring, kitchen tiling and pool interior designs and borders.
Religious Folk Art
Religious paintings, sculptures and triptych, or tri-fold displays, celebrate and honour the Virgin Mary. Art dealers import hand-carved wooden crosses, both modern and historic, to sell in the United States and around the world. Custom frames crafted out of tin, pewter, hammered metal, copper or wood showcase these works of art. Look for distinct artistic traditions and materials in specific Mexican villages and cities.