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.
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.