Pat Picciano and Juan Horta in Tócuaro, Michoacán 1989.
In the 1980's Pat Picciano traveled to Mexico with the hope of meeting a traditional mask maker that he could study with. He selected the mountainous state of Michoacán in central Mexico, home to the Purépecha indigenous culture. A small village on the shore of Lake Pátzcuaro became the base as he traveled to various craft villages that surrounded this beautiful high mountain lake. He met and studied with Juan Horta a maskmaker, who lived in Tócuaro, a woodworker's village. Upon completion of the apprenticeship with Juan, Pat returned to the United States and was soon working as artist in residence in schools throughout the northeast. Starting in 1988 Pat arranged a tour of schools for Juan and ever since he has been inviting folk artists from Mexico to visit schools. In 1999 Pat teamed up with Margaritas Mexican Restaurants, a privately owned chain of restaurants in New England. The visionary company offers student field trips to their restaurants that feature hand made furnishings, decor and folk art crafted by Mexican artisans. Each year visiting artists are invited to to demonstrate their craft at the restaurants and local schools. A visiting artist will meet with thousands of students and hundreds of guests at Margaritas. Manos de México offers the work of those artists, along with popular decor items for the home and garden. We are fortunate and happy to be partners with Margaritas and continue to share our appreciation of Mexican craft and the artisans that create it.
Manos de Mexico means Mexican hands and everything in our store comes from artists that make their living working with their hands. Our mission is to provide the best authentic folk art from award-winning artisans in Mexico. Many of these folk artists come from craft families that have been producing traditional crafts for generations. Each item is one of a kind so there may be variations between similar products. Everything is imported from Mexico directly from the artists. For this reason we are able to keep our costs down and pass the savings on to our customers and let the artists keep the money they worked so hard to earn. We will be adding extra features over the next few months, so come back regularly.
Pat and Martha Cecilia Picciano
Interior of Margaritas Mexican Restaurant.
Juan demonstrates in art class.