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Mila's Mask, a new bilingual children's book about Mexican folk art and crafts!

artesania children's book folk art Mexican Mexico

I used to think that the only thing Mexico By Hand  had of interest to kids were the Ocumicho clay whistles. Then our granddaughter Mila arrived and I noticed her fascination with many of our other pieces of folk art and crafts. As a newborn, she intently focused her gaze on our brightly colored figures, skeletons, and masks. She wasn’t frightened by them-- they enthralled her. As Mila grew more verbal, she enjoyed interacting with them. And then there was a point when she didn’t want to leave the room after her nap (which was our gallery) because she insisted on looking at the pottery on the shelves. I couldn’t believe it really. It was then I realized our little two year old granddaughter was a fan of Mexican folk art and crafts.

There’s another story as well. We’re losing many of our master artisans, some recently to Covid, and many others are aging and unfortunately their children aren’t choosing to continue the work. Those of us who appreciate beautiful things made by hand are concerned. I want to share the passion I have for Mexican artesania with the world, and also tell a personal story about my granddaughter Mila.

I’ve been working on a children's book for a while that is a culmination of my life's work as a bilingual educator, a collector and promoter of Mexican folk art, and as a parent and now grandparent. It’s been a fun and meaningful project for me personally, and I hope you or someone you know might be interested in such a book. I invite you to take a look at Mila’s Mask/La Máscara de Mila-- which is now for sale on our website.

Mila's Mask features numerous photos and descriptions of Mexican folk art and artisans. Here are a few of them, beginning with Mila and embroidered pillows made in Rancho Santa Cruz near Tzintzuntzan, Michoacán. 

Antonio Anita Mejia of Quiroga, Michoacán made the small table and chairs Mila loves to play with. The maestro passed away in 2021 but his son Gabriel continues to do this beautiful work.

Elena Felipe Felix of Huancito, featured above in the Banamex Collection, Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art. We feature a more recent photo of her in Mila's Mask, painting one of her pots beside her daughter, Imelda, who is also an artisan. 

Angela Esteban of Ocumicho, Michoacán makes figures out of clay, and we have featured many of her pieces (e.g. devils, mermaids, nativity scenes) in our collection over the years. Most recently we facilitated the sale of 500 of her little bird whistles pictured in Mila's Mask to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art store for their exhibit: "Diego Rivera's America."

If you're interested in seeing work by the above artisans, use the search box on the website.

And to see more info. or purchase the book, here's the link to Mila's Mask.

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  • Peggy on

    Sue—thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so glad you appreciate “Mila’s Mask” and my intent behind the book, and it makes me happy to know that you and others are enjoying it!

  • Sue Seiden on

    Everything I have purchased from Mexico by Hand over a few years and every interaction with Peggy has been wonderful! I really appreciate that she has direct, personal relationships with the artisans so I feel comfortable they are being paid fairly and respectfully for their art. Her book, “Mila’s Mask” has been enjoyed by both the adults and kids we gave it too. Especially those adults who have traveled to Mexico and want to share it with the kids in their life. I really appreciated the statements that “making artesania is very hard work and takes alot of time” and buying their work helps to continue that work. One of my favorite parts of the book is the “About the artesania” page~ she actually knows the artists!

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