Home Expat Blogs Dancing Through Life in Michoacán The Feria Maestros del Arte is Back in a New Form

The Feria Maestros del Arte is Back in a New Form

Lupe Garcia Rios pottery from Michoacán, Mexico
Credit: Florence Leyret Jeune

Lake Chapala’s Feria Maestros del Arte is back in a new form this year and I am excited to tell you all about it.

But first, a little about me and my new blog for Expats In Mexico. I have named it ‘Dancing Through Life in Michoacán” for a few reasons. First, I love to dance and am not embarrassed to dance in the streets, around my home and without a partner at a party. In addition, I am a member of our local senior women’s ballet folklorico group. Perhaps it might be a metaphor of some type as I prance through life in Mexico?

Enough about me. Some years ago, I discovered my affinity for Mexican art. I had been buying some of the simpler rustic artesania off and on, but when I moved to Mexico for the second time in 2008, I really got into it (and that is an understatement!). Some friends even describe our home as a museum. Yep, the line between passion and obsession can sometimes feel a bit murky to me.

My interest in Mexican art turned into volunteer work, too. I am the volunteer artisan coordinator for Michoacán for the annual arts festival held each November at Lake Chapala, Feria Maestros del Arte, which is also known just as the Feria. So, in that spirit, I invite you to our “mini-Feria” and will introduce you to one of the artists who sells her work there.

I will also provide a way to look for beautiful Mexican art online without paying for the middle person. One of these days I will tell you about the Feria in depth, but in a nutshell, it is a fabulous annual event held each November in the Lake Chapala area. It features the best of the best in Mexican art. But, sadly, many artisans have suffered great economic and personal setbacks during the pandemic. In addition, the annual Feria was cancelled these past two years because of the pandemic.

This year, though, we are planning a mini-Feria that will feature the work of about 30 artisans (we usually have about 80 artisans, thus the term “mini”) and will include Christmas ornaments, gift items and works of art ranging from inexpensive items to the more expensive and finer works in pottery, copper and more.

Only a few of the local artisans will be in attendance and they all are fully vaccinated, as are all the volunteers. Since this stubborn virus is still lurking, we have decided to use volunteers to sell at the mini-Feria rather than provide potentially risky bus transportation for those who live far away.

So, let’s get to the nitty gritty. You can go to the Feria website for detailed information, including who is sending their work. The mini-Feria will be Friday, November 5th and Saturday, November 6th from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Lake Chapala Society in Ajijic, Jalisco at 16 de Septiembre Street 16-A. There is no entry fee and masks will be required.

Do I hear some of you saying there is no way you will be traveling to Jalisco? No problema! Here is another way to buy Mexican art without paying the middle person. Just go the Feria website and you will find a link to purchase items online. The site updates as items are sold, so be sure to check back occasionally. In addition, the Feria has a new presence on Facebook and Instagram. All proceeds from purchasing online go exclusively to the artisan and for their shipping costs.

Please note we are mostly senior expats so our entry into the technological world of selling online is a work in progress. Before the pandemic hit, we had a website, but the pandemic pushed us into improving our ability to assist artisans with their sales.

Now let me tell you a bit about Guadalupe (Lupe) Garcia Rios and her family’s work that will be featured at the mini-Feria. Lupe has a family workshop in Tzintzuntzan (pronounced seen-soon-sawn), Michoacán where she and her four adult children make their beautiful creations. They have received numerous national, state and local awards.

Lupe, who creates the wonderful pottery shown in our cover photo for this blog, has quite a story, which was made into a short 10-minute film. You can view it on Vimeo. The title of the film is “Cueravaperi’ (mother of the earth goddess) by Alma Silva. It is in Spanish, but has English subtitles. The film begins with a family trek up a mountain to search for adequate clay. It then follows Lupe through the long process of making her beautiful high fire ceramic pieces. Lupe’s connection to the earth is profound. Trust me, it is worth the10 minutes to watch this film!

I hope you enjoyed a peek into my world of volunteerism and art. See you next month!