Beadwork at Casa de los Venados

Dear friends, long time no post! I have been off exploring the Yucatán and I have so much to share with you. This was my 4th trip to Mexico which officially makes it the country I have traveled the most. After visiting Mérida for a few nights (an amazing city!), my compañero and I took a bus to Valladolid. This is a small city in the center of the Yucatán, but it is very important to Mexico’s history. It is also very warm there as it is completely surrounded by jungle.

Casa de los Venados Valladolid Mexico Mexican folk art museum free tour

We arrived in Valladolid just in time to visit Casa de los Venados (House of the Deer). This is a private home which contains the largest museum quality collection of Mexican folk art in the country. There are more than 3,000+ pieces in this collection. The owners are kind enough to open their home every morning for a free tour (donations welcome!).

Casa de los Venados Valladolid folk art museum Yucatan peninsula Huichol beadwork

I had read a lot about this collection of folk art and I was very happy to have the opportunity to visit! This 18,000 square foot home is really a palace complete with beautiful open spaces, fountains, gardens, and a swimming pool.

Casa de los Venados Valladolid Yucatan Mexico Huichol beadwork folk art museum bead artist

I was amazed at the amount of art which was displayed in every room (there is even an entire room dedicated to Frida Kahlo). It is really a grand example of how one can make art appreciation a part of their daily lives. Of course, I was on the lookout for beadwork and I did find several pieces of Huichol bead art. Last year, I wrote a blog post about this art form which you can read HERE.

Casa de los Venados Valladolid Yucatan Mexico Huichol beadwork folk art museum bead artist jaguar

Folk art acknowledges the importance of what is sacred as a unique expression of a people’s perception of the universe. These works of art are primarily handcrafted for utilitarian or decorative purposes. A folk artist might be self-taught, or learn from other folk artists to create their own authentic works of art. This is different from ‘fine art’ which is generally taught and legitimized in academies.

Casa de los Venados Valladolid Yucatan Mexico Huichol beadwork folk art museum bead artist

Casa de los Venados Valladolid Yucatan Mexico Huichol beadwork folk art museum bead artist

At Casa de los Venados, the goal is to share with the community and teach that folk art is indeed something which the Mexican people should view with pride. They now conduct organized school tours to teach children about the art and handicrafts of their country. This is wonderful because in many cases the local children might never make it to a big city to view fine artworks. They now have the opportunity to learn about and appreciate the art that is all around them.

Casa de los Venados Valladolid Yucatan Mexico La Catrinas Cupola Roof Dome skeletons painting
If you take a trip to Valladolid, definitely make time to visit Casa de los Venados as well as other historical sites around the city. Take lots of photos and keep an eye out for the Catrinas! :O

>Afternoon in Murano (Part 2)

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bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia embroidery venetian beads mille fiori
For those of you who may never have the opportunity to visit the Murano Glass Museum in person, I took the following photos. These cards explain both the Vocabulary of Murano Glass Making and a Glossary of the Types of Glass & Decorative Procedures. On the very last page, you will find a note about Conterie and the Methods of Making Glass Beads. Please click the pics to enlarge.

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia embroidery venetian beads mille fiori

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia bead making glass blowing venetian beads mille fiori

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia embroidery venetian beads mille fiori

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia bead making glass blowing venetian beads mille fiori

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia bead making glass blowing venetian beads mille fiori

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia embroidery venetian beads mille fiori
Now, let’s go bead shopping! 🙂

Also, just a quick reminder – if you happen to be in Boston tonight, stop by Bead & Fiber Gallery at 460 Harrison Ave. to check out my current exhibit, Under the Microscope. Tonight is First Friday from 5-9pm! Please check Bead & Fiber’s website for more information. Hope to see you there! 🙂

>Afternoon in Murano (Part 1)

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On my third day in Venice, Italy, I finally took the vaporetto to the Glass Island of Murano. Murano is actually a group of islands adjoined by bridges. It is about 30 minutes away from the main island of Venice.

 

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia embroidery venetian beads mille fiori
Murano is known for the beautiful glass objects & beads that have been made there for centuries. I went there to see demonstrations of glass being made and to learn a little more about the history of Venetian glassmaking, so the first place I went was to the Murano Glass Museum. Since photography was not really allowed, here is just a sneak peek inside the museum. 😉 Please click the pics to enlarge… 

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia embroidery venetian beads mille fiori 

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia embroidery venetian beads mille fiori 

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia embroidery venetian beads mille fiori 

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia embroidery venetian beads mille fiori 

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia embroidery venetian beads mille fiori 

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia embroidery venetian beads mille fiori 

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia embroidery venetian beads mille fiori 

bead factory travel italy murano glass museum venice venezia embroidery venetian beads mille fiori
Please check my Murano photo set on Flickr for more pics. Also, please check back for Part 2 to learn about Murano glass bead making. 🙂 

>Ancient Beadwork

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Building the New Museum of Fine Arts MFA beadwork beadnet dress egyptian ancient beads
Since yesterday was a holiday, I went to the Museum of Fine Arts for their Open House! Most every Monday holiday means free admission at the MFA, and I try to take advantage of it when I can. I actually went to see the Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice exhibition since I’m planning a trip to Venice, but I also found myself in the ‘new’ Old Kingdom Egyptian rooms. There, I found the most beautiful bead-netted dress which dated from 2500 B.C.!

Building the New Museum of Fine Arts MFA beadwork beadnet dress egyptian Giza ancient beads
Believe it or not, I was actually contacted by someone from the UK about this dress several months ago. I was asked if I knew how to recreate a likeness of the dress, and if I thought I could, it would be worn in a movie production/documentary film. The person who emailed me had a deadline, knew very little about beading, and had no idea how long such a task would take. Of course, if it were bead embroidery, I could do it, but at the time, I had not even seen the dress in person- only a photo. And, now that I have seen it, I think I could possibly do it, but there would have to be no immediate deadline, because it doesn’t look very simple! You can learn a little more about this dress by clicking the photo below, then click All Sizes on my Flickr page:

Building the New Museum of Fine Arts MFA beadwork beadnet dress egyptian Giza ancient beads

After reading this information, I wondered what kind of thread the Egyptians used to string beads in 2500 B.C… How many years did it take for the threads to disintegrate? Also, how many years would it take for modern Nymo (nylon) thread to disintegrate in a similar circumstance? And, how will my beadwork hold up over the next 2500 years or so – that is, if the human race still exists on this planet… if the planet exists at all… Just a few beads for thought! 😮

P.S. If you would like to see more beadwork & jewelry found at the MFA, please check my Flickr! Enjoy!
🙂