My Hat's off to dear friend and fellow Frida follower, Nathalie Herling of ArtVallarta (Puerta Vallarta, Mexico) for pulling together a phenomenal Art Opening "Fearless Fridas.” While provided with great Guacamole, a surprisingly delicious Watermelon Soup, and even her FABULOUS shoes, patrons were engaged from the moment they walked in the door. From my point of view, this was an energizing and fun get together filled with artists, music, lots of collectors and friends! The Original Friends dolls were in the house with 11 original Fridas appearing which delighting admirers! Many of the Fridas found new homes this evening. New and original Fridas will be at the Gallery for purchase until the show ends on March 11, 2017.
To read more about the event
For Frida Kahlo enthusiasts, this show is a must see!
MAESTROS DEL ARTE; A VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF VENUE
From the 11th to the 13th of November, the original friends dolls along with almost 100 other artisans were invited to attend the 15th annual Feria Maestros del Arte. This unique popular Mexican folk-art market is held once a year and it is the largest market of it's kind in Mexico. Marianne Carlson, the founder of this show had the idea to create a project to save as many of the dying indigenous arts of the region by locating and inviting the masters to attend an annual sales event in which many of them earn their entire year's income in those three days. Many of them travel up to 16 hours by bus to be in Chapala. The transportation as well as host families are provided by the wonderful dedicated volunteers of the feria. The organization of this event is a non-profit and they pour everything into it. Antje Zaldivar is the President of the organization which has been very supportive of the Prison Doll Project, even meeting me to give me donations of materials.
What makes this event so unique is the generous way the Artisans are given the means to travel long distances to sell their wares. Most stay with host families which means they are immersed in each other's cultures which makes for joyful memories and unusual friendships. The friendships that are formed here I call my "Once a year friends," because the rest of the time they are clear across the country and we could never stay in touch. Each year we seem to pick up right where we left off before.
This feria was our sixth year of attending and even with the cold and almost constant soupy rain, we had a great turn out and people were interested in investing in art and unique cultures. We will announce the dates for next year's Feria Maestros del Arte as soon as we are made aware of them.
Ready to show my Original Friends Dolls at the Feria Maestros del Arte coming up on November 11, 12, and 13, 2016Read Now
The countdown to this year's feria Maestros del Arte is drawing close. Original Friends Dolls will once again be represented at this year's 15th Anniversary of this popular Mexican folk-art event located at the Yacht club in Chapala, Jalisco.
We have been enthusiastically creating new dolls to prepare for our sixth consecutive appearance at this invitation only art exhibit which showcases the unique Mexican folk-art.
I will be visiting our doll makers at the women's prison Puente Grande, this coming Tuesday to collect more dolls for this event. We are expecting to have around 100 dolls available for purchase during this event. The feria Maestros del Arte is an event that each year provides an opportunity to sell many of the dolls made by the women prisoners. This directly improves prison life for these ladies by providing the means for basic necessities they would otherwise not have which improves their lives while incarcerated.
The month of September was a milestone for Original Friends Dolls, as we have started our ninth year of making these unique one of a kind ClothArt Dolls.
For more information please go to www.mexicoartshow.com.
Club de Yates
I have talked about my friend Alma Esmeralda Hernandez Jose "Esme" over time and today she shared a story that expresses her faith and her strength so clearly. Esme has languished in jail going on eleven years. During that time, she has lost 4 family members, a brother, to a brain tumor, another brother, through leukemia, her beloved father on the operating table, and her sister, to suicide.
Esme was arrested three months after she graduated from university at the age of 22. On her next birthday, she will be 33 living in the uncertainty of her legal situation.
She began her story today by telling us that the other night, she was praying for her freedom and trying to make a deal with God, telling him that once she was free, she would go to cancer wards and share the bible with cancer patients, because of the loss of her two brothers to cancer.
She said she heard God say to her "You have a cancer patient right here inside the prison and you haven't even visited her once."
As soon as she could, she, went to the clinic, and asked to visit the woman dying of uterine cancer. The woman asked why she had come and Esme told her. Esme read to her from the Bible and sat with her for a long while. Esme said her skin was gray and ashen. Esme prayed for her healing.
Later, during prayer, she received another message, "Take the ancients to this cancer patient and pray over her and annoint her with oil."
The next day, she went to a friend's gathering of a Christian group. As the Pastor was giving his sermon, Esme received another message from God saying "These are the ancients, take them to the woman in the clinic." She asked the visitors if they would do it, and found out that oddly they had annointing oil with them!
Usually visitors are allowed only on the terrace. Getting permission for this group to visit the woman in the clinic, fell on Esme and she said it was amazingly easy and fast. So in they went. Her way was made smooth.
They prayed for her and stayed with her asking for healing. They annointed her with oil, and left her to rest, but not before she accepted Jesus Christ as her savior.
Since then, Esme has continued going to visit her. Her color has returned, her pain has stopped and her constant bleeding has also stopped. She showed the nurse the pain pills she had kept; because she hasn't needed them. They now allow her to walk to the terrace and back, rather than being on constant bed rest.
However, the authorities are not ready to attribute this to a miraculous healing, but Esme is and I am. I believe there was a divine intervention. How about you? I'd love to hear your comments.
Carla and I met at the usual supermarket in Chapala, Mexico for our drive to the women's prison at Puente Grande. I brought linguine with a pesto sauce from my own garden. She brought a wonderful salad, veggies and dips and her homemade Hollandaise buterkuchen, which is basically, sugar, flour, and butter. It has the consistency of a butter flavored brownie. But today's were almond flavored. A really great treat!
We rode together to the prison and were met with enthusiasm by Esme, Samantha, Gina, and Erika. As usual, we were blessed by the visit. I was given two mango plants that Esme had started from the pits. They are going into my garden. Someday, I hope they'll be trees.
Esme's case is moving forward again. She is going on 11 years waiting for her legal outcome. She was sentenced once, that was revoked, then everyone has been waiting for several years for something to happen. Recently, we raised money for a new attorney who seems to be moving things along. She told me that her attorney said that the Secretary of the Court is cooperating and trying to move things forward due to the amount of time she's been in prison. Please continue praying for her release. Now is the time to continue to support her and continue the vigilance.
I picked up 4 new dolls and they are Cat, Celeste, Mora, and Calamity. Please click on their name to see them in the catalog.
Today marked a reunion of sorts. It was Carla's first visit since her return from the United States and a repeat hip surgery and Sheila's first visit since her repeated surgery. So the three of us travelled together and met at our familiar spots in Ajijic and then Chapala. Carla made Texas style chili, which was laden with green and red peppers, corn, onions and a generous shaking of chili powder; as opposed to Mexican style chili con carne, which is beefsteak cooked in a chile ancho sauce or adobo. Topped off with sour cream and cheddar cheese, the ladies were excited to try something new...something Tex-Mex.
Soon Esme brought the two new dolls she had completed. One is the Frida doll and the other is a fabulous mermaid doll.
We had been seated for less than five minutes when a heavily medicated stranger approached the table. Deborah walked up to our table and asked if we would buy her a coffee. We had already received our coffee waters or milks, however, we bought her the coffee because we could see that she was in need of an element of comfort and in this moment, for her, it was coffee. She was incoherent so it was immediately obvious that she was heavily sedated with medication. She spoke amazingly good English, however was heavily accented and told a tragic story of how she was born in Mexico and lived in the US for more than half her life. At some point in her life she had to retur1000511 FRIDAn to Mexico, which is where the undiagnosed schizophrenia took its toll on her life. She did not disclose to us why she was at the Women's prison in Guadalajara, however, we later found out it was a serious offense connected to her undiagnosed mental condition? She is one of many of the women who we now have become acquainted with during our visits to the prison.
Carla, Sheila, and I, left Deborah, and the ladies at the Feminil Reclusorio at Puente Grande with two newly freed dolls, Frida Kahlo and her new bff, the mermaid. I know these two will sell quickly because of their unique beauty.
Who is the cutest candidate for POTUS? Don Juanito Rudolfo Valentino (The Donald) has issues, but I would put my faith in Don Juan to refrain from nuclear proliferation among his many platform talking points. While, Donald J. Trump frequently has no leg to stand on, Don Juanito Rudolfo Valentino has four.
My name is Rebecca Roth. I am an author, poet, artist, and most importantly a doll maker/designer. I live and work in the central highlands of Mexico.