Handicraft Boutiques: Where the Beautiful Is Also Meaningful
Vallarta · Nayarit is one of the most attractive destinations to obtain pieces of art and handicrafts. The quantity and diversity of art galleries and shops specializing in art testify to this. Similarly, more and more visitors are leaving our city with handcrafted pieces in their bags.
In this article we feature three boutiques offering articles that in addition to being beautiful and aesthetically impeccable also have priceless symbolic, cultural, historical or spiritual value. These boutiques carry unique pieces, made by local artisans, that you will not find anywhere else.
Visiting this place is a real experience, the quantity and quality of handicrafts astounding. Peter and Tari Bowman describe it thus: “Banderas Bay Trading Company is a collection of Mexican handicrafts. Some are antiques, others are new, and many designs mix the two elements.”
Located in the Romantic Zone, it is the only store in Puerto Vallarta that specializes in authentic antique Mexican handicrafts as well as contemporary handmade pieces, offering the visitor an experience similar to that of a museum, a journey through Mexico’s history of art and design styles.
Banderas Bay Trading Company’s merchandise includes dressers, beds, tables, chests and chairs in fine woods, unique pieces of religious art such as carved saints, niches, altarpieces and crosses, assorted accessories including figurines, sculptures, masks, pillows, alebrijes and catrinas, as well as lamps, mirrors, talavera tableware and a potpourri of other decorative items.
All the items here are handmade or fashioned in the traditional way by artisans known well by the Bowmans. Many of the pieces were acquired at the Feria de Artesanías de Pátzcuaro, in the state of Michoacán, which the Bowmans have attended for the past 15 years. And Banderas Bay Trading Company is so well established that art dealers and craftsmen come from all over the country to offer their pieces.
To learn more about this shop and its wide variety of handicrafts and antiques, visit Lázaro Cárdenas 263, in Colonia Emiliano Zapata.
Faith Colectiva is no ordinary jewelry store. “We sell jewelry and articles with deep meaning,” says store manager Christina Rathke.
The shelves are filled with original figurines and sculptures that showcase the skills of the artisans, not to mention “spiritual jewelry,” including beaded mala necklaces and bracelets used for meditation and wrap bracelets of semiprecious stones that emanate spiritual energy.
When shopping here, you not only acquire a unique and original work of art but also help the community. According to Sandra Gutiérrez, production manager of the company, “The Faith Colectiva project is about a group of women helping other women. We work with local indigenous women, who make these handicrafts.” It is something that goes beyond charity or solidarity; it is a project of sustainability. “Working at Faith Colectiva is gratifying, since selling their products gives them more work and provides greater exposure to their art.”
The creative hands and minds behind these pieces of jewelry are those of a family of three indigenous women from the state of Guerrero. They were selling their handmade jewelry on the beaches of Puerto Vallarta until a few years ago, when Katie Coleman, owner of Faith Colectiva, proposed the idea of opening their own store, which also includes a workshop, to provide their work greater exposure.
In addition to the jewelry, the store also offers various fashion accessories and decorative items, such as figurines, mirrors, silver articles from Taxco, Guerrero, and textiles such as handbags, scarves and shirts made by a Guatemalan craftsman.
Faith Colectiva is located at Calle Basilio Badillo 314, in Puerto Vallarta’s Colonia Emiliano Zapata.
In recent years, Huichol art has gained worldwide popularity. Its colorful and striking forms, representing elements of nature, contrast with its deep religious and cultural symbolism, the techniques passed down through the centuries.
Puerto Vallarta has established itself as one of the epicenters of this type of art, and Tierra Huichol offers one of the most influential collections. They work with more than 50 families from the Wixárika community, who inhabit mainly the states of Nayarit and Jalisco.
The store offers assorted examples of Huichol artistic expression, particularly the decorative figures covered with glass beads and the images made with yarn.
The five elements (earth, sea, water, air and spirit), as well as natural motifs including deer, eagle, corn and peyote, are omnipresent symbolic figures in Huichol work. This imagery, including shapes, colors and elements, carries cultural, religious and ceremonial meanings of which clients are sometimes unaware.
Retablos, glass work and an extensive collection of catrinas are also offered. All the items are unique handmade pieces, each one created by a single artist.
The main Tierra Huichol store-gallery is on the Puerto Vallarta Malecón, at Paseo Díaz Ordaz 590.
The Importance of the Artisan
Art is not only about the aesthetic but also about the spirit of the artist. The region’s authentic handicrafts carry a social and cultural meaning that can only be realized by acquiring original pieces. To support these communities, which not only strive to preserve their art and customs but also derive their main source of income from it, when you visit a shop or gallery do not hesitate to ask about a piece’s origin and authenticity.