Last weekend we attended the 16th annual Feria, a festival where artists from across Mexico are invited to Chapala, our neighboring town and political seat, to demonstrate their wares. The effort was begun by expats, and is pulled off by over 200 volunteers, who set up the tents, organize and staff the event. The invited artists stay with volunteers, and otherwise pay nothing for the opportunity. Crowds come from all over Jalisco and other Mexican states.
The key to the even is the authenticity and the expertise of the artists. Whether they work in leather or stone, textiles or clay, jewelry or wall art, they are chosen because they represent local artistic traditions, done in a classical sense. No chance you’ll run into a “Made in China” label or a mass-market imitation. Each artist sets up a small display where they can sell their efforts, on the grounds of the yacht club in Chapala. There is an entrance fee which defers the administrative costs. Here’s a triptych from inside the event:
What most amazed us was the craftsmanship of the work. The art pieces we encountered were obviously the work of tens to hundreds of hours of work, and lovingly completed by artists dedicated to their craft.
We bought some figurines, to which we will add some ballast so they can serve as door stops. We find that the airflow is so good through the casa that our doors are constantly slamming shut with the breeze, unless we doorstop them. We found a nice small basket we needed for use at the parish, and a copper pot which serves as a container for our wooden spoons. Finally, w gave in to the calavera tradition and purchased a small, ornamental skull, which was just too attractive to pass up.
My favorite has to be this calavera, which just screams “Mexico!”: