Posts Tagged ‘butterfly’

I’ve been in Mexico visiting artists like Gorky Gonzalez and can’t get enough of the sun, the food, the… roosters. From ceramic dishes to the blue and white rooster that stand alone, I’ve seen roosters (and other fowl) everywhere.

But it doesn’t end with blue and white rooster plates; that’s just the beginning. New triple dishes feature hummingbirds and roosters to join the cactus, palm tree, and fish motifs already in my Gorky collection. I love these ceramic dishes because they’re so versatile: good for dips, condiments, olives, or nuts, they also function as a place to keep jewelry, keys, or the contents of your pockets (no more lost wallets and phones for you!). With both double and triple ceramic dishes, use a variety to add spice to your next fiesta.

With the new black rooster plates from Italy, I’ve been struck at the global nature of animal motifs in ceramic wall art. Chickens, frogs, fish, and flamingos join butterflies (like the pottery dishes by Angélica Escarcega), flowers, and people for quirky and lively decorative plates and bowls. Visiting the artists let’s me not only stock up on popular pieces (like those fun salt and pepper shakers) but also see new ideas from ceramic wall plates to tibors (ginger jars). One of my favorite things is seeing the painted but unfired pottery dishes – the kiln totally transforms them from pale, flat ceramics into the glossy, touchable pieces we all love.

Watching the artists paint every piece is also incredible. Whether it’s geometric patterns or those blue and white roosters, plates, bowls, trays, and other dishes come alive with every brush stroke.

Whether you prefer monochrome or full color decorative plates, look for new arrivals from Gorky, Angélica, Capelo, and Talavera Vazquez in the next few months. There’ll be some old favorites and some new surprises with ceramic dishes that are truly works of art.

Want to see more of my Mexico adventures? “Like” Emilia Ceramics on Facebook for photos and updates.


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Reading up on monarch butterflies, it’s not surprising that they play a special role in Mesoamerican cultures. Every fall there is a massive migration where millions of these delicate creatures congregate on every available surface in forests throughout central Mexico. The butterflies mate in late February and then, after their winter of rest, the females take off for Canada.

“The miracle of the monarchs’ migration lies not only in the distance that the fragile animals cover, but also in the fact that no single butterfly knows the way from experience,” Ben Harder explains in National Geographic News. Since a butterfly only lives for a few months, each year’s migration is several generations of butterflies removed from the last one. Scientists have studied these fantastic creatures for years, trying to unlock how the migration happens and why.

But of course, monarchs were making the trek to Mexico way before scientists began studying them. The forests of the central Mexican state of Michoacan have hosted these flying wonders for thousands of years and butterflies play an important role in traditional symbolism in the region. The Aztecs considered monarchs sacred and incorporated butterfly motifs on shields and in other crafts. Xochiquetzal, the Aztec goddess of love and beauty, was portrayed with butterfly wings and accompanied by birds and butterflies. In Michoacan, the native Purépecha Indians believe that these butterflies represent the souls of their dead ancestors since the monarchs arrive just in time for la Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) on November 1 & 2.

It makes sense then that butterflies (and monarchs in particular) often show up on Mexican ceramics. While there are many examples of Mexican folk art ceramic with butterfly motifs, I’ve never seen pieces quite like Angélica Escarcega’s. Angélica takes traditions of Mexican folk art ceramics and raises them to a whole new level. Mariposa (butterfly in Spanish) designs are her specialty, but what makes these ceramic butterfly pieces unique are their raised designs. The monarch on her mariposa tibor (ginger jar) looks ready to fly off for its migration. The covered dish adds a whimsical note to any table or counter top. Both highlight Angélica’s light-hearted and personal take on Mexican folk art ceramics.

Like other kinds of Mexican folk art, ceramics enable traditional symbols and patterns to be passed along from one generation and culture to another. I can only imagine how many artists throughout history have been inspired by the butterfly migration. What better way to celebrate this gorgeous creature than by bringing a Mexican folk art ceramic butterfly piece into your home?

Butterfly cluster image courtesy of Agunther.

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