As you can imagine, everyone at the DMA is excited about the exhibition México 1900–1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde. The sentiment is no different here in the store. To get into the spirit of the exhibition, and provide you with the most authentic experience possible, our managers, Alison and Marta, traveled to Mexico and hand selected a number of items to bring back and feature. You won’t find these unique items anywhere else, unless you’re planning a trip to Mexico, that is.
In our store and online you’ll find an assortment of goods, many of which are hand-made, from Mexican artisans. These range from bags, textiles, leather goods, and even Luchador masks culled from marketplaces in and around Mexico City. The most stunning items they brought back are perhaps the ceramic pieces.
These traditional Mexican clay works vary in theme and design from small suns and moons to Catrinas to grand, intricate Trees of Life. Most of the ceramics they returned with come from the studio of Oscar Soteno.
Soteno is the nephew of Tiburcio Soteno Fernández, the famed ceramicist from Metepec, one of the primary ceramic centers in Mexico. Oscar, famous in his own right, leaned to work with clay as a child. As an adult, he began specializing in creating Trees of Life, like his uncle. These clay sculptures, which evolved from the creation of candle sticks, feature ornate detailing and vary in size from handheld to larger than a person.
Can you believe that? None of our pieces are that big, though.
Oscar’s workshop just outside of Metepec is a family-run affair. In the courtyard are two large kilns where the pieces are fired. Here, he makes traditional Trees of Life that feature themes of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden as well as ones that depict the life of Christ and more ornamental ones. Day of the Dead imagery is also a common theme. To decorate the trees, Oscar uses paints he makes himself.
México 1900–1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde is a thrilling undertaking for the DMA and we’re proud to be part of it. It’s our hope that the items you find in the store will capture your imagination and provide you with an authentic piece of Mexican culture and tradition.
Check out a few pictures and a video from their visit to Soteno’s studio: