I live in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, a colorful place full of bead artisans. Much of what has inspired the new turn in my beading has come from the wonderful artisans I have met on Isla. It was Playa del Carmen, however, that introduced me to Huichol. On a long trip that ended up in Dangriga, Belize, a friend of mine and I stopped in Playa del Carmen for a night. We walked up and down Avenida Quinta, peeking into the high fashion shops that Playa is known for. In this swath of wispy fabrics and scantily-clad models, there is a colorful oasis of artisan work.
I wish I could tell you the name of the shop, but it has since slipped my mind. What I do remember, is that it was my introduction to the Huichol Indians of Mexico, and their amazing jewelry, waxed thread, and waxed bead pieces. I was in love, and could think of nothing else but learning this amazing art. I bought a book about the Huichol, and one necklace from the store.
I studied that necklace and my huichol book for months until I unlocked the pattern. The Huichol consider their art to be a meditative path to enlightenment. Often while travelling this path, peyote is used to heighten the senses. The peyote cactus is prominent in many of the Huichol designs.
I can honestly say, that after creating my first Huichol piece, I felt that I had lifted a veil. My beads made more sense to me. The Huichol also believe that the art you create is manifest into the world at the completion of the project. I like the idea that the flowers and mandala patterns in my pieces are now manifest in our natural world. Here are some of the pieces that I was graced with in this process. Enjoy, and please comment. Have you had a Huichol experience? Or a moment when beading helped you work through something bigger?