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The artisans of a culture are true teachers. They not only pass down the essence of their work, but they are communicators of technique and creativity, of tradition and ingenuity. SOMOS Artistas Cultura kits feature the wide variety of handcrafts that have survived for generations and are still being produced and appreciated today. Each art form was originally created using available raw materials. If there was an abundance of palm or hemp, they made baskets and ropes. If they wanted to incorporate colors, they created natural dyes using fruit, leaves or pecan shells. Cochineal, one of the most ingenious dyes, grows on cactus and generates a beautiful fuchsia, cranberry or purple color for textiles and paints.  Each kit provides background and history for the art form, explanations and video demos of the techniques, and culminates in the production of a piece that exemplifies that art. Downloadable activities allow you to make beautiful alebrijes, papel amate, or repujado or other forms of artistry from generations past.  Here are a few in development.

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Alebrijes

While the indigenous people of Oaxaca carved animal figures into wood, Pedro Linares from Mexico City used paper mâché to create alebrijes, the fantasy spirit animals that came to him in a dream. Learn painting techniques and explore the many ways to express your spirit with beautiful alebrijes.

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Corn Husks

Corn is also known as maize. The relationship between corn and the Americas goes back 10,000 years. Every part of the ear of corn is used - even the husk! The artistic possibilities are endless. Here are a few ideas!

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Mascaras

Masks, or máscaras, have been around for at least 20,000 years. They have been used in everything from rituals and performances like dance or theater, to social events and celebrations. Learn how they are a part of Mexican culture and create various style masks of your own.

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Molinillos

The molinillo is turned on a lathe from one piece of alder wood. Learn how woodcarvers such as Maestro Juan Alonzo Rodriguez have taken the carving of molinillos to a new level of artistry creating napkin rings, bracelets, and candle stick holders. 

Other topics in development:​

  • Book Binding – Discover some ancient Aztec techniques to bind your own books. Using the materials around them the Aztec used twigs and fibers to create pages and bind them into books.  We will explore how to make beautiful books that hold the stories we want to tell and treasure.

  • Cascarones - Mostly associated with Easter celebrations, the art of saving and coloring eggshells is explored along with the history and roots of this colorful, happy art.

  • Coronas – Make wreaths for doors or create flower halos for your head using flower making techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation. Learn all the ways that coronas are used to enhance a celebration or highlight an event.

  • Filigrana – Filigree is a fine art of curling silver and gold wire to make jewelry.  As we explore this art and it’s traditions, we will practice curling paper and make our own creations.

  • Fingerknotting – The history of fingerknotting does not originate in Mexico but when it was introduced it quickly took root especially in one of our favorite pieces, the fringe on the rebozo.  Fingerknotting is an art form that has found its way into our keychains, bracelets, belts, wallhangings, and headbands. Learn the knots and create your art with this Cultura kit.

  • Flores – In this Cultura kit you will find out about flowers and plants native to Mexico and how they are still so familiar to us.  We see poinsettias at Christmas and the story of its origin come from Mexico. The cempatchutli adorn all the graves for Día de muertos.  Single blooms and bouquets, fresh and dried become arrangements in our homes.  We will learn how to make different paper flowers and use them as decorations and adornments.