It’s lovely how easy it is to step back into life in La Cruz. I guess it’s because out of the past 14 months in Mexico, this has been the town we’ve called ‘home’ for more weeks than any other. We pulled into our old slip, were greeted by old friends, and slipped into the lively pace of life here without a second thought.
Today is ‘kid’s club’ a new organized playgroup put together by Tammy on Andiamo 3. And today was also the first day in a series of Huichol art classes where a local artist, Alvarez Ortis will be teaching us some of his traditional beading skills.
In case you’re not familiar, the Huichol people are one of Mexico’s indigenous groups. They live in the mountains—mostly as subsistence farmers—but over the past several years their intricate bead and yarn work has become a favourite tourist souvenir. The art itself is spiritual in nature—and reflects the Huichol people’s relationship with their deities: the trinity of Corn, Blue Deer and Peyote, the eagle, and the Sun God, "Tao Jreeku".
Alvarez explained this to us in a slow gentle Spanish that even I could mostly understand. He told us how their art is for the most part unaltered—that while they have switched from natural seed beads and plant-based dyes to crystal beads and nylon string, what they create is still culturally authentic and spiritually relevant.
I’m not sure what I expected from our first class—but I did sort of hope I’d get to stick beads into bees wax and create a masterpiece. Instead Alvarez had us start at the beginning—making basic necklaces—giving us no direction other than to create what moved us and listen to our own inner music.
Mine wasn’t much of a masterpiece. But at the end of the 90-minute class I felt incredibly peaceful, which Alvarez told us while we packed up, was the first lesson. Next week though we get to do designs!