Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle


Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine

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DREAMSCAPES WINTER 2022/2023 56 M y husband and I can't stop staring at the papier mâché faces of squinting devils, birds with mischievous grins and other surreal creatures covering the walls of Giri- pani Café. We are in Pátzcuaro, a colonial town in central Mexico, and eager to explore this region with a deep connection to traditional craft-making. As the barista serves us perfect macchiatos, I inquire who might be the mask-maker. His answer is a phrase we will often overhear. "I made them." TIMELESS CRAFTSMANSHIP High in the Michoacán mountains, Pátzcuaro is one of many vil- lages encircling Lake Pátzcuaro. For thousands of years here, the native Purépecha people have been handmaking wares that masterfully blend function with beauty. When Spanish Bishop Don Vasco de Quiroga arrived in the 1530s, he was amazed by the Indigenous skills and creativity. Despite his role in colonialism, Quiroga advo- cated for the Purépecha people's self-sufficiency by supporting their artisanship and encouraging communities to specialize in a specific product. Today, the Purépecha people and their descendants continue to make and sell textiles, ceramics, masks, metalwork and a dozen other crafts from villages each known for a primary handicraft. Pátzcuaro is one of the vibrant hubs for this traditions-based economy. MUSEUM TO MARKE T Pátzcuaro instantly charms us. Colonial buildings are painted white with an ochre trim. Restaurants featuring Michoacán cui- sine revive old mansions. We start our visit at the Museum of Popular Arts and Indus- tries, one of Mexico's national folk-art museums. Built in the 16 th century as a priest's college, the museum displays crafts from the region, including lacquered jícaras (hollowed-out gourds). The Magic of T R A D I T I O N S F E A T U R E Pátzcuaro TRADITIONAL CRAFTS FLOURISH IN MEXICO'S HEARTLAND MUST SEE Don't miss Michoacán artist Juan Torres Calderón's mural Brief History of Pátzcuaro inside Pátzcuaro's Town Hall. TEXT AND PHOTOS BY DAVID LANDERS

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