The California Native International Adventures

Since 1983

From The California Native Newsletter:

Copper Canyon Crafts

Tarahumara Weaver
Visitors to the Copper Canyon area are always pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of craftsware and folk art available for purchase. The remote life and character of the Tarahumara Indians has fostered a tradition of crafts making as a part of their life-style.

While traveling through the region you will find very inexpensively priced baskets, belts, dolls, pottery and musical instruments.

The baskets are made out of the leaves of the agave as well as pine needles and range in size from tiny to large. Visitors purchasing baskets find that they can pack them one inside the other to conserve space during their trip. Once at home, the baskets of pine needles hold their scent of pine forests and become a wonderful reminder of the trip, and they are utilitarian as well as beautiful. The Tarahumara pottery is quite sturdy and is designed to be more functional then decorative.

Music is an important part of the Indians daily living and also plays an important roll in their ceremonies and festivals. Their musical instruments include violins, drums and wooden flutes. They learned the art of violin making from the Spaniards in the 18th century.

Carved wooden dolls dressed in typical Tarahumara fashion are for sale in a variety of sizes and portray the various activities of Tarahumara life—mothers wearing shawls while carrying babies on their backs, ladies weaving on hand-looms, and men carrying tools or musical instruments and wearing their traditional headgear.

Crafts can be purchased from the Indians who set up their merchandise on rocks along the trails and in all sorts of unlikely nooks and crannies. Crafts are also available in stores, and one that we recommend is the Mission Store in Creel, located right on the town square. Profits go to the hospital which serves the Tarahumara Indians.

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