Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cocuchas In Cocucho

We have all our furniture and decor done. Landscaping is still a work in progress, but we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. There is one spot between two bookcases that a nice vase or something could go.

After a little thought we decided to get a small cochuca.

Cocuchas are the shapely pottery vessels from the village of ......
Cocucho! Makes sense doesn't it?

You may remember them from the post I did on the day of the dead market here in Patzcuaro. Click the link below to check it out.
Day of the Dead Post

So for a bit of an interesting afternoon, we decided to drive out to the village itself to find one small enough to fit in the spot selected for it. The drive to Cocucho is about 90 kilometres each way. On the way, you can stop into Paracho, a village world famous for its hand made guitars.

If you love guitars, you don't want to miss the annual guitar festival.This year it is August 2-10, 2008. Perhaps we will have to pop back to check that out.

Driving through the mountains and valleys you come across striking panoramas. Now that we are in the rainy season the hills are lush and green, painted against dramatic skies.

This view alone was worth the drive!

After a leisurely drive we have reached our destination. Parking across the street from the Templo de San Bartolome I see a photo-op, a cross that is echoed in the background by the cross on the top of the church it is set against.

Just as I was about to take the picture, the sun broke through the clouds. Very dramatic! If it was a movie you would expect to hear violin music and maybe a choir of angels.

300 years ago?
(click on the image to see it larger.)

I couldn't resist sepia toning to the image before I posted it. It looks like it could be a scene from 300 years ago, except for the basketball court tucked into the lower right of the image.

Now, we are off to select our cocucha. While there are signs and shops on the street directing you to where you can purchase them, most of them are taken elsewhere for sale. Because of this, most workshops are just part of peoples homes, hidden from view and lacking storefronts.
Luckily we have received advice from an expert on cocuchas and other folk art and were soon knocking on an unassuming metal door. Shortly we were ushered into the humble but warmhearted home.

Soon Francisca and Felix we showing us not only all their wears but their family also.

One big happy family!

Now, I am not sure how it happened, but instead of getting one SMALL cocucha for between the bookcases, we somehow ended up with 5 of varying sizes, 7 if you count the two little mugs.

It was a fun afternoon, and I would recommend it to anyone BUT keep a couple of things in mind.

It is not a tourist town and in many ways things there are the way they have been for 100's of years. While I was taking pictures of the cross, every woman in sight covered her face and head with her robozo. So I took my picture and put my camera away. I did also take a picture of the family and their pots, but only with their permission.

Also if you are like me, you really enjoy the negotiations that go along with these types of purchases. So have fun with it like I do, but you can tell coming into this town, that there is not a great deal of wealth, so don't overdo the bargaining. Dirt floors are very quaint and charming when you are not the one who has to live with them.


Jonna said...

You had me with that first line, jealousy overwhelmed me. After I got over thinking about having all the furniture and decor done, I got jealous again for your 7 cochuco pots.

BTW, they are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Nice entry Todd. Your photos are wonderful. Sure was a surprise to see the Paracho bit. I love the area and the people. In separate visits I've bought 2 guitars from a master in Paracho. Jesus Martinez also had me transport some yellow cedar pieces from British Columbia so he could try his hand at using this type of wood. Along with guitars he sent me home with a metre long piece of 6"x6" solid rosewood for a guitar maker I know in Idaho. Glad I had a car not a backpack! Jesus was a guru in Mexico City as well as in Paracho where he influenced greatly the complete co-operative nature of the making of stringed instruments in the area around Paracho. Every household seems to make or work on at least a part of each instument made there. The higher priced guitars maybe not have so much community involvement though. My guitars have stood the test of time and humidity and are still perfect! Vive Paracho.
All the best to you guys,

Todd said...

Jonna - I may be a glutton for punishiment, but after all this, I just wanna take what I have learned and do it again. I guess I don't have the hang of this retired thing!

Randy, Thanks, that is very kind of you to say. Now that the guitar festival is on, maybe I will get a chance to check out one of those concerts I keep hearing about!
I am amazed at the magic they can make there with a bit of wood and a few strings!

Anonymous said...

Wow, those are gorgeous!

Babs said...

Ahh, Todd love this post - if people knew how beautiful where you live is - EVERYONE would move there! I went to Paracho to the guitar festival a couple of years ago and it was magnifico. Stayed in Uruapan and drove up for the events. Brought LOTS of pots back - more then I had room for - and have since given them away! I think I need a Michoacan fix - maybe I can get over that way in mid-September or October some time.
Beautiful photos, especially the sepia tone one.........

Todd said...

Thanks Heather!
BTW love the new hair cut!!

Babs- Thanks! Hey, when you get here, we better hook up!



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