Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 2010 Lachiguiri Rocks

Here are some of the latest rocks available for April 2010. Will show more later as I'm going to the states and those of you who love to buy these rocks may want to let me know to hold one for you. These are individually painted. No two alike.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Froylan's latest Artwork

I wonder what goes on in the artist mind when they have a rock in their hands. What will this rock be? I am amazed at what Froylan is producing these days. You can learn more about Froylan by clicking on the Lachiguiri Artist link in the right column.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Arriving in Huatulco via a Cruise Ship?

If you are coming into Huatulco via a cruise ship in 2008 be sure to look up the Rotary sign for a Huatulco Home and Garden tour and to visit the rock store.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Zapotec Rock Artist

In a remote Indigenous Mexican village you will find a beautiful Zapotec people. Because of their remoteness they haven't had the advantages for earning a living except for their coffee. But not all the people raise coffee.

Shelby Combs a retired teacher and Sheri Burk a missionary gathered some of the people together and proposed teaching them how to paint on rocks and now they sell their products in the resort town of Huatulco when the cruise ships come in.

We will share a little of life in the village and give you a glimpse of the artist who are painting.

In the column to the right scroll all the way to the bottom of page to links with the title of "Lachiguiri artist" to see the artist and their work. We have over sixty artist now painting rocks. I will be adding each artist and their new art work as time allows.

This blog site is edited by Sheri Burk. By clicking on the email envelope you may reach me personally. Hope you enjoy the personal rock you purchased when you stopped through Huatulco Oaxaca Mexico. Remember every dollar and peso goes directly to the person who painted your rock so you have helped one family who lives in this remote village. Thanks

Thursday, August 18, 2005

First Rock Art Class

Shelby and Sheri went up to the village of Lachiguiri on the 12th of January of this year (2005) with the idea of starting an art class for those who might be interested. Zapotec people in general are very artistic but we had no idea what to expect.

Shelby, a retired teacher won their confidence from the start. Our little room was jammed packed from the first day. The idea was to train them for a new interprise to supplement their income along with their coffee production. This is not just a past time or kids fun thing, so we limited the class to adults. Now that some of the artist are painting in their homes, they are making this a family project with their kids wanting to help. Their art work is also creative as you will see as we add artist.

The classes are free and the paint and brushes are there for them to use. We've incorporated teaching them principles on how to take care of their paint brushes and paints. They are allowed to use the classroom on certain days. Many have bought their own supplies from the proceeds of their earnings so they can paint in their homes. Still many of them prefer coming to the classroom to use our supplies plus it is also a great social time for many of them. They also learn from seeing each others work and techniques. It is turning into a great cooperative effort.

There are now over 60 artist and many more are asking us to start new classes. We hope to renew our teaching classes as soon as the tropical thunderstorms let up some. Eventually we will teach them marketing skills so they can promote their own Art.

Starting with our next blog we will introduce you the artist with their individual stories and pictures of some of their art work.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Gathering Rocks

Lachiguiri Rock Art was created as a means of helping the people find a better way of life. This creative art form is produced by many indigenous Zapotec people who have come together to turn smooth river rocks into art representing beautiful flowers, animals and insects. Each new post will show you the individual artist and their latest creations with a little history of their life.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Shelby and Brad

Shelby is a retired school teacher from Michigan living with her husband Brad, a Rotarian. They have built a lovely home overlooking the Bahias of Huatulco. She and her husband Brad have been very involved with helping many local communities in the Bahias de Huatulco through the Rotary Club International. They are a very giving couple who spend part of each year living in the area. Shelby has desired to have her own project and it was her idea for the new adventure we will share for the people in Lachiguiri. When Shelby's life touched Sheri's, a wonderful adventure was waiting for the people of Lachiguiri.

Lachiguiri Land of Intrigue

Lachiguiri is in the state of Oaxaca, one of the southern states of Mexico. It is nestled in sub-tropical rugged land, full of diversity and contrast. It is situated deep in the mountains of the Isthmus where the two mountain ranges meet and form the narrowest land between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. The people have maintained themselves apart from most of the world and in most ways life goes on as it has basically for centuries.

The Zapotec people of Lachiguiri are one of over 42 languages, each dialect as different as Spanish is from Italian. In general, Zapotec people have a great distrust of outsiders. They did not always accept even other people from other Zapotec groups. It has taken Sheri many years to develop a trust among the Lachiguiri Zapotec people. At first they thought she had come to steal their language.

They are quite intelligent and hard workers. They grow coffee in the mountains and sufficient corn for their family’s subsistence. Their coffee ranches are three to six hours walk up into the mountains from the main village of Lachiguiri. Most of the people still walk to their land as the cost of a ride by bus or a truck is beyond their means.

Part of the year they may have avocados or oranges, bananas and other local fruit but most of the year they only have soup made from leaves that taste similar to spinach, tortillas and coffee. When possible they eat grasshoppers, iguana, eggs, beans and rice. They supplement this with wild herbs and greens. Jason, an agricultrist from Minnesota came in and taught them how to grow vegetables. Seeds are donated each year by a nursery in Prescott, Arizona. They save a hen for a fiesta or some may raise a goat or two for a special fiesta like a wedding. They always give their best when guest come such as medical teams from the states.

Fiestas are what they live for. A wedding fiesta or a fiesta for the worship of a patron saint may go on for several days or even a week. Since there is usually a lot of mescal served, tragically it is common to have the fiesta end with someone being shot over some minor insult.

The late Ernesto Dominguez the town cacique (rich landowner) provided the village with a school and a clinic. Usually a doctor who needs to do his internship comes to serve for one year at the clinic. Several of the recent doctors have a real love for the people and have stayed on to give extra loving care. There still isn't enough clinics to cover all the villages and each clinic serves about ten communities. Dental service is non-existent and a great need.

Since the people have so little money they have to work for the town doing "Tekio", sweeping streets or hoeing weeds in order to pay for their medical services or to pay for the education of their children in the government schools. Even the women may be out digging ditches. Children are required to wear uniforms and if the family can't buy them, the children can't attend school.

Seventeen years ago there was only a grade school and the start of a junior high with most of the families only sending one child to attend school. Today a new basic class of high school saw their first graduating class in July (2005). Many of the youth desire to further their education and become professionals, such as medicals. There are some grant programs for indigenous youth but they have not been informed of these benefits. They still need to finish some college prep high school to enter a university for a higher education. These are areas we hope to work on.

Electricity has only been in this area a short decade and a few people now own televisions. You can begin to see changes among the people but not always for the good. Even the beautiful bright and colorful huipils the women have worn for years have been exchanged for cheap western style wear. Many had felt that they should not allow their children to speak Zapotec but there is now a leaning to bring back their language and culture.

Wife beatings, incest and jealousies were too much a part of their culture in the past and would tear families apart. They aged fast. Many would marry at age twelve or thirteen. Women of thirty quickly look twice their age. The clinic doctors are giving classes to help in family planning and good nutrition. These are changes that can increase a successful style of life.

Agape Mission Projects came into this area to help bring peace and love to these warm people. It has taken many years to win their confidence but they now respect the lone American woman who came to live among them.

Sheri is always looking for ways to help "her" people and it was through this that she met Shelby.....
We will introduce you to some of these Zapotec friends through these blogs and how people like Shelby has helped make a difference in some of their lives.