Cinco de Mayo is upon us and we couldn’t be more thrilled to celebrate this year by delving into an array of quilt art inspired by Mexican culture and tradition. Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration held on May 5 that commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862. What better reason to celebrate the bright beautiful colors, rich textures, and meaningful stories and traditions of our South of the Border friends and their unparalleled contribution to quilting artistry? Throughout the years, Quilting Arts Magazine, has featured a number of artists and techniques that highlight Mexican folk art, textiles, and Milagros. We’ll be revisiting those below. Prepare to be delighted and inspired!
“What textile lover doesn’t enjoy learning about how fiber artists add a bit of spice to their work by combining deep colors, rich textures, and meaningful back-stories in their work? Art quilters often look to other cultures for inspiration: whether it is in the simplicity of Scandinavian design, intricate boro mending on Japanese kimonos, or the color combinations seen in Mexican Milagros or Guatemalan fabrics, we can learn so much by looking beyond our own borders.”
In this piece originally published in 2019, Vivika interviews art quilter Priscilla Bianchi for Quilting Arts Magazine. Her work is a study in vibrant colors, challenging patterns, and pure joy. As a quilt artist, designer, and international teacher, Priscilla creates one-of-a-kind quilts that meld the richness and ethnic appeal of her homeland with the tradition of American quilt making. In her work, brightly colored textiles and Mayan symbolism are intertwined with contemporary quilt designs and high contrast.
Fiber artist Jane LaFazio has honed her observational skills well through art journaling, sketching, and painting. Consequently, she has an uncanny knack for combining textures and techniques that work together in mixed-media quilts.
In this feature originally published in 2014, after being mesmerized by images posted to to social media, Vivika chats with Jane Lafazio about her travels to San Miguel de Allende, Mexio and how they have inspired a series of her quilt art and other fiber art.
“Sometimes inspiration for a project comes from a variety of cultural sources. That is the case for my mixed-media Milagros. I was recently gifted a small stash of fancy fabrics—gorgeous sheers, silks, beaded trim, and colorful snips of Indian saris—that were just itching to be used in fiber art. But they had me stumped: the beads and bangles needed to be kept intact and the sheers would look best if they remained sheer. I knew I’d think of something.”
Inspiration for beautiful expression through fabric and thread can come from so many sources, including the cultures that can be found flourishing all around us. Let’s take a moment to truly appreciate Mexican tradition, art, and beauty on this day of celebration. And if you enjoy learning about textile traditions and want to explore using color, symbolism, and stitch, we encourage you to dive into the pages of Quilting Arts Magazine. You won’t be disappointed.
Featured image: “Aguacatan” (detail) by Priscilla Bianchi, Photo by Léster Meléndez