Making Catrinas

Up early again and on the bus by nine. The temperature outside 6 deg C. We were over 7,000 feet elevation. Today we went to the little town of Capula to visit a Catrina workshop.

There were two married couples who worked as two teams making them and we had the privilege to watch them put some together. They didn’t talk to each other much just instinctively handed items to each other.

Catrinas are made from local clay and part of the day of the dead. (Los dais de Los Muertos)  Celebrations. After the clay is mixed it’s left for about 6 days to partly dry out. When it’s ready it has the consistency of plasticine and is much easier to work

One of the couples was Jose and his wife Valentina. She was born on Valentine’s Day and as it was the day before, we all sang happy birthday to her. We watched them with fascination as they moulded the clay to build a new Catrina. Jose made a whole skeletal hand complete with knuckles, a monkey head and a quetzal bird while we watched.

Once they are put together they’re fired in a kiln and then hand-painted to finish them off. Each one is unique and no machinery is used at all.

We bought two Catrinas, they stand about 10” tall and, except for the mould for the body, are completely handmade and painted. Actually, even the moulds are hand-made. Each one is completely individual. The cost of our two was 600 pesos (about $40).

Our Catrinas. We wanted bigger ones but didn’t like them that much. Notice the Monarch Butterflies. All made of clay.

When we left this factory we went to the collective where all the artisans display their wares. And of course, we saw two more smaller Catrinas that we wanted so we bought them also. They cost 70 pesos each about $5. We noticed that the family who had made our first ones were by far the best.

Our smaller pair. OOh! that sexy leg She’s smoking. I guess that’s what killed her.

Our next stop was Patzcuaro where we would spend the next two days. After we checked in we had lunch and met up for our next walking tour with Karen.

Patzcuaro is a beautiful old town. The main square is surrounded by lovely old buildings. Halfway through the tour, we found a guitar store and I bought a nice handmade practice guitar for $120. At this point, we abandoned the tour as my hip was sore so we went back to the hotel and as we had finally found some wine I drank some to ease the pain.

Patzcuaro is a ‘Magical Town’ which means that it has historical significance. There are eight in Michoacán and all the buildings are painted red and white. Also, it is the law here that all business signs must have the first letter of their name in red and the rest in black.

We did manage to find some white wine but not at out usual Oxxo stores. Oxxo’s are Mexicos version of 7/11

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