Museum Summer Hours: 9AM to 4PM • Open all days

The Magic of Mexican Artistry

Hector Gallegos and Laura Bugarini

The days when Mexican folk arts equated with border shop trinkets in people’s minds are long past. Today, Mexican artisans occupy a place with some of the finest in the world. These individuals create unique pottery that is considered to be among the world’s best; weave beautiful tapestries utilizing traditional materials and natural dyes; meticulously carve and paint intricate wooden fantasy animals; and fashion unique silver filigree jewelry.

Filigree jewelry by Yesenia Salgado

Guardians of age-old folk traditions passed down from generation to generation, these devoted indigenous artisans—some of them tucked away in remote villages of Mexico— often dedicate days or weeks to creating one exquisitely crafted piece.

The museum is once again hosting the best of these artisans. Some of them will be returning, some are new to this year’s event. Be sure and join us at this year’s annual three-day Mexican Artistry celebration. Visitors will be able to observe, and converse with the artists as they work. Finished works will be on display and for sale. Admission to the event and parking are free.

Textile design by Porfirio Gutierrez


Magic of Mexican Artistry Guests:

Reina Ramirez (Oaxaca) • Reina Ramirez was married to Master Carver Mario Castellanos and she is the genius that developed the painting techniques that the couple became famous for. Reina hails from a traditional wood carving family and inspired much of their work. She is now carrying on her famous family’s tradition, making a name for herself in the world of Oaxacan wood carvings. Reina’s work is gorgeous and purely sculptural — a level above the rest.

Julia Fuentes (Oaxaca) • Julia paints stunning animal figures on hand-carved copal wood in the style that Oaxaca has become famous for. Her work has gained international acclaim for the complexity of the carvings, and for a painting style that reigns at the top of her craft. Julia is the only Oaxacan wood carving artist that has been trained in painting by the prestigious Bellas Artes art school. Her work is collected by institutions and collectors all over the world.

Porfirio Gutierrez

Porfirio Gutierrez (Oaxaca) • Porfirio is the proud descendent of many generations of Zapotec weavers. Porfirio is recognized by the Smithsonian Institution as an artist working to preserve the traditions of natural dyes. His art has been shown on PBS as well as a documentary funded by the Smithsonian Institution. Last year, Porfirio participated in the United Arab Emirates International Traditional Craft Forum. He had the honor of being invited to share his work and culture with artists from all over the world. Porfirio lectures at universities, art foundations, and museums and has shown his work in eight countries on four continents. Porfirio will be demonstrating his weaving techniques and talking about the natural dye process.

Yesenia Salgado

Yesenia Salgado (Oaxaca) • In Oaxaca, filigree jewelry traditionally has been a male dominated art form. Yesenia’s family workshop is made up mostly of females. Yesenia began silversmithing at age 16 and by age 29 she is winning awards for her precise and lovely filigree work. Each piece of jewelry is hand formed and soldered to achieve the final delicate result.

Laura Bugarini and Hector Gallegos, Jr (Mata Ortiz) • Master Potters Laura Bugarini Cota and Hector Gallegos Martinez are a husband and wife potters who learned their skills from their incredibly talented parents. Laura Bugarini’s first inspirations were the ancient Paquime designs, and her initial pots were sold to the tourists who visited Mata Ortiz. Laura noticed that most of the potters were using similar designs, so she began experimenting with something totally different. After a year of practice she was able to create her own finely detailed band work design, a design that would come to be known as the Bugarini Style. Today Laura is one of the most sought after artists in Mata Ortiz, and her work is considered to be some of the finest in the village. Laura Bugarini has exhibited her art work at more than 50 international art shows. Hector Gallegos Jr.learned pottery from both of his parents in his later teenage years. Early on, Hector moved away from his parents’ precise geometric style in favor of etched sgraffito work incorporating finely detailed animal designs. Hector has participated in numerous international art exhibitions.


Octavio ‘Tavo’ Silvera (Mata Ortiz) • is among the best known potters in Mata Ortiz. His variety of repertoire and color schemes – from deep reds to white slip polychromes – has made him a true favorite among collectors.

Charmayne Samuelson

Charmayne Samuelson (Las Cruces) • The author will sign and sell copies of her new book “Spencer MacCallum: Memories – Mystique – Mata Ortiz,” along with the potters in the Apacheland Barn. “If you know about or own any Mata Ortiz pottery, you will want to read this fascinating story of how it all began,” Samuelson said in a news release. “From childhood, each step of Spencer McCallum’s life seemed destined to take him to Juan Quezada and Mata Ortiz. His natural curiosity at a young age of discovering ancient relics continued with him trekking across Mexico to find one single potter, Juan Quezada, and propelling him onto the world stage as an unlikely superstar artist.” Samuelson is the author of eight books spanning seven genres: a Southwest mystery novel, a self-help book with explanations and techniques of self-hypnosis, stories for spiritual seekers, four story coloring books featuring Southwest Desert Animals, a color photography book of the wild mustangs of the Onaqui Mountains and now a biography.