Huichol Bead Art of Mexico

Recently I traveled to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. This was my 3rd visit to the country. For those who have never had the opportunity to go to Mexico, I highly recommend visiting the Yucatan peninsula. This area is full of nature, handcrafted art, adventure, fish tacos, relaxation, and fun in the sun. For those who haven’t been there, I thought I would share a few photos of some beautiful beaded artwork I discovered along the way.

On my last night in Mexico, I visited Tierra Huichol, a gorgeous shop on 5th Avenue. This shop carries colorful hand beaded artwork made by indigenous Huichol (pronounced Wee-Chol) artists from the Pacific coast states of Jalisco and Nayarit. I had the opportunity to speak with the shop owner, Carlos, and he told me a little about the craft.

The Huichol people use mainly Czech glass seed beads because Japanese seed beads are just too perfect. First, an animal figure is covered with beeswax, then tiny glass beads are imbedded into the wax one by one to create these amazing designs. One of the main concerns is that over time, the wax may harden and some beads may fall off. I was told they are in search of a manmade material (similar to beeswax) which they can use to help reduce bead loss.

I think the most impressive thing about this art form is that the artist does not use a drawing or outline to follow. They simply use their incredible artistic vision and creativity to create one of a kind pieces.

I was given the chart above to learn about all of the symbols which can be found in the artwork. Then I shopped around for awhile, and I found a small beaded gourd to purchase. This piece features images of the Peyote flower and the Deer.

The next time you visit Mexico, look for Huichol bead art in small tourist shops and at the airport. These artworks are affordable and easy to pack in your suitcase or carry-on, so find one you would like to bring home. Your purchase will help support the culture and livelihood of a very gifted group of artists! 🙂

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Diana Lynn Grygo, aka. The Lone Beader, is a self taught bead embroidery artist. Her custom beaded dog jewelry, pet portraits and art can be found on Etsy & Amazon.