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Frida Kahlo Inspired Talavera Pottery Project!

November 11th, 2013 Flew to Mexico city today.

D.F. (Mexico City) is such a large sprawling city. Coyoacan a suburb is somewhere down there. Getting closer to Frida!
D.F. (Mexico City) is such a large sprawling city. Coyoacan a suburb is somewhere down there. Getting closer to Frida!

Arrived at night around 9:30 pm and took a taxi to Coyoacan where Frida Kahlo lived most of her life. Coyoacan is very cosmopolitan and exudes wealth and culture. It is now a suburb of Mexico City but in Fridas time it was it’s own town with lakes and farms that have since been developed. Coyoacan means “Place of Coyotes”.

This sculpture is in the Zocalo of Coyoacan
This sculpture is in the Zocalo of Coyoacan

It is one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Mexico city. The Project for Public Spaces ranked Coyoacan as one of the best urban spaces to live in North America in 2005 and it is the only Mexican neighbourhood on the list. This area was designated as a “Barrio Mágico” by the city in 2011.

When I was in Coyoacan in 2007 I was in this cafe, but this visit, I couldn't find it.
When I was in Coyoacan in 2007 I was in this cafe, but this visit, I couldn’t find it.

Stayed at La Casita del Patio Verda in Coyoacan which is a sweet house in a the central area.

It is a beautiful BnB with wonderful Mexican colours!
It is a beautiful BnB with wonderful Mexican colours!
It is one of the nicest bed and breakfasts I have been in. I stayed in the El Cuarto del Colibrí room.
This was my room. I absolutely loved the Oaxacan look and the textiles ....so beautiful
This was my room. I absolutely loved the Oaxacan look and the textiles ….so beautiful
Everything has the Mexican artisan’s touch. The room had beautiful tapestries from Oaxaca. The Tehuana tops and skirts Frida wore were from the Oaxaca area – a place I hope to visit next year.
This is where I had a fab breakfast prepared by Anna. So yummy with freshly squeezed orange juice, egg omlet and fruit
This is where I had a fab breakfast prepared by Anna. So yummy with freshly squeezed orange juice, egg omlet and fruit
I even found Frida here, of course she is everywhere. This beautiful sculpture was by the front door.
Sculpture of Frida
Sculpture of Frida

November 12th, 2013 My immersion into Frida’s life begins today with a return trip to Frida’s house – La Casa Azul (named for it’s cobalt blue walls). According to Diego’s daughter Guadalupe, Frida and Diego painted the house blue when they moved in together. I was here in 2007 for the first time with my Mother Lee Turner and we loved it! – 2007 was 100 years of Frida – she was born on July 6, 1907 (as noted in her birth certificate – she told people she was born July 10th, 1907 so her birthday would align with the Mexican revolution).
Always exciting to walk through this door. [caption id=
Casa Azul in 1930 Casa Azul in 1930
Today was my 4th time. Here is a cool picture of Frida outside the blue house with a white parasil.
Beautiful color photo of Frida in front of Casa Azul
Beautiful color photo of Frida in front of Casa Azul
There is an exhibition of Fridas clothing this time…can't wait….” width=”225″ height=”300″ class=”size-medium wp-image-52″ /> Always exciting to walk through this door. Today was my 4th time. There is an exhibition of Fridas clothing this time…can’t wait….[/caption]Her house was built in 1904 and was the family home. It is a large rectangular home (800m) with an inner courtyard (400 m). Inside the entrance there is a message on the wall telling visitors that Frida y Diego lived here from 1929 to 1954. Casa Azul entrance
When Frida died July 13, 1954 Diego ordered that her private bathroom which contained her wardrobe, clothing, jewellry, perfumes and medical items be locked for 15 years after his death. Dolores Olmedo was a friend and patron of both Frida and Diego paintings and she was put in charge of their estates. The room remained locked for 50 years and only recently was unlocked by Hilda Trujillo Soto, the Director of La Casa Azul- now the Frida Kahlo Museum. Casa Azul hired restoration artists and textile archeologists to resurrect Frida’s clothing. There was a show here of Frida clothing, prothesises, corsets, shoes, jewellry and some Frida inspired clothing created by designers. Seeing Frida’s clothing and jewellry gave me an opportunity to experience her essence more intimately.
A light cotton top of Fridas
A light cotton top of Fridas
I love this top and have seen it paired with her navy pants in a vogue photo of her clothing
I love this top and have seen it paired with her navy pants in a vogue photo of her clothing
Notice the dress on the end with the Tehuana face huipil
Notice the dress on the end with the Tehuana face huipil
Perhaps you recall this painting Frida did in 1943 called "Self Portrait as Tehuana or Diego on my Mind"
Perhaps you recall this painting Frida did in 1943 called “Self Portrait as Tehuana or Diego on my Mind”
CA fridas dresses full shot copyCA fridas dress copy
You can see how light the material was with some of her dresses. Although she did have a number of velvet skirts too. It can get quite cold in the night time in Coyoacan
You can see how light the material was with some of her dresses. Although she did have a number of velvet skirts too. It can get quite cold in the night time in Coyoacan
Love this head dress of hers - looks Chinese. She had a few Chinese pieces
Love this head dress of hers – looks Chinese. She had a few Chinese pieces
This looks chinese too! I am definately going to use this top in an image for the Frida Kahlo Talavera pottery designs!
This looks chinese too! I am definately going to use this top in an image for the Frida Kahlo Talavera pottery designs!
She loved these chinese shoes. I bet they offered her some comfort too!
She loved these chinese shoes. I bet they offered her some comfort too!
One of my favourite photos in the exhibition of her in a beautiful outfit
One of my favourite photos in the exhibition of her in a beautiful outfit
Notice Frida corset on the second skirt. There was also a display of her corsets, crutches, etc.
Notice Frida corset on the second skirt. There was also a display of her corsets, crutches, etc.
Love the embroidery details on this dress!
Love the embroidery details on this dress!

A light cotton top of Fridas
A light cotton top of Fridas
I love this top and have seen it paired with her navy pants in a vogue photo of her clothing
I love this top and have seen it paired with her navy pants in a vogue photo of her clothing
A close up of Frida's corset
A close up of Frida’s corset
Here are the corsets that were on display. I found this part of the exhibition disturbing - it really captured the arduous and painful nature of Frida's existence
Here are the corsets that were on display. I found this part of the exhibition disturbing – it really captured the arduous and painful nature of Frida’s existence
Frida in body cast. Coloured picture
Frida in body cast. Coloured picture
I believe this dress was designed by Dai Rees in 2012 inspired by Fridas clothing and corsets. I believe this dress was designed by Dai Rees in 2012 inspired by Fridas clothing and corsets. [/caption]
I was not sure if these were Frida's intimates or whether these were created by Designers too.
I was not sure if these were Frida’s intimates or whether these were created by Designers too.
Love this bracelet of Fridas. It was great to see her jewellry. I think women's jewellry is fascinating and I love hearing the stories behind each piece. I use to sit with my Mother in Law in her elder years and we'd chat about her various jewellry pieces where she got them from, when she wore them, etc.
Love this bracelet of Fridas. It was great to see her jewellry. I think women’s jewellry is fascinating and I love hearing the stories behind each piece. I use to sit with my Mother in Law in her elder years and we’d chat about her various jewellry pieces where she got them from, when she wore them, etc.
Frida's rings. Love the way they were displayed.
Frida’s rings. Love the way they were displayed.
This piece is equisite I will definately use this or part of it in a design with Frida
This piece is equisite I will definately use this or part of it in a design with Frida
Looked like Frida had painted the cigarette on the case.
Looked like Frida had painted the cigarette on the case.
This beautiful keepsake was also on display I love the picture of Frida
This beautiful keepsake was also on display
I love the picture of Frida
On display was also this cool Frida Rubics
On display was also this cool Frida Rubics
Note you can line up outfits or interchange them!
Note you can line up outfits or interchange them!

One of the sections of the Blue House I always enjoy mulling around in is the Retablo collection Frida had. Hers are actually Ex-votos (“from a vow”) they are a form of retablo in that they often depict the story that led to their commission. These stories recall dangerous or threatening events that actually occurred, and which the person survived, thanks to the intercession of a sacred person – God, Mary or a saint. They are made as a way of thanking the sacred person for protection in precarious situations, such as surviving an illness or earthquake. They are also made to give thanks for a happy beautiful event such as a pregnancy, success of a new business and new found love, marriage, etc.
The way a retablo and ex-voto look is entirely up to the person designing it, so long as it contains the necessary basic elements. The most important part of the retablo is the representation of the miraculous event. That is why most artists try to use bright, vibrant colors to portray the supremacy of the event. An ex-voto is often painted on a piece of steel.
One of Frida's Retablos
One of Frida’s Retablos

I seem to be attracted to the ones with animals in them horses, donkeys
I seem to be attracted to the ones with animals in them horses, donkeys
CA man y donkey retablo copyCA donkey retablo copy

Fridas Wall of Retablos!
Fridas Wall of Retablos!

Off to Frida’s kitchen. She has a beautiful collection of glass, pottery and mole bowls. Of course, doing a project where I am designing Frida inspired kitchenware using Traditional Talavera designs and forms and integrating modern forms and frida inspired art I am very interested to see what is in her kitchen… The first thing that strikes me about Frida’s kitchen is the display of tiny pottery cups on the wall that makes up the image of two Doves and with the names Frida and Diego on each side.

Little tiny clay pots make the Dove design and Frida y Diego’s names CA doves of Frida y Diego copy
CA Diego kitchen

Love this idea of both of their names written with tiny clay pots – it is so romantic and sweet. Frida’s kitchen is big and spacious with loads of beautiful pots, pitchers, plates and mole pots CA kitchen full shotCA frida kitchen copy CA Fridas kitchen full shot

Frida's wooden spoons! I imagine her using the biggest one to make Mole
Frida’s wooden spoons! I imagine her using the biggest one to make Mole
Loved this friendly little bowl!
Loved this friendly little bowl!
I am going to work one of these Mole pots into an image of Frida making Mole and put it on a large Talavera platter!
I am going to work one of these Mole pots into an image of Frida making Mole and put it on a large Talavera platter!
This greenware is very special, very primitive. However it is a very porous low fire clay and they chip and break easily, unlike Talavera
This greenware is very special, very primitive. However it is a very porous low fire clay and they chip and break easily, unlike Talavera
I might work in one of these pitchers into my designs. Maybe Frida holding a pitcher of Pulque a local alcoholic drink Frida favoured!
I might work in one of these pitchers into my designs. Maybe Frida holding a pitcher of Pulque a local alcoholic drink Frida favoured!
Love the blue glass pitcher particularly. And of course Frida's yellow display shelves.
Love the blue glass pitcher particularly. And of course Frida’s yellow display shelves.
Very cool Cat pitcher
Very cool Cat pitcher
This is one of my favourite pieces. I imagine Frida holding this with fruit overflowing from it!
This is one of my favourite pieces. I imagine Frida holding this with fruit overflowing from it!
This is a beautiful big Mole pot, I might be tempted to add a little design on it when I use it for the Frida image of her making Mole
This is a beautiful big Mole pot, I might be tempted to add a little design on it when I use it for the Frida image of her making Mole
This was in Frida's kitchen too
This was in Frida’s kitchen too
Frida and Diego in a loving embrace in their kitchen.
Frida loved Diego so much and she became a really wonderful cook, making him his favorite Mexican dishes
Frida loved Diego so much and she became a really wonderful cook, making him his favorite Mexican dishes
In the dining area where they ate, Frida carried through the bright yellow colour and gave the table an extra touch with various table cloths and center pieces of fruit, flowers, flags, etc..
the dining room has such an airy feeling
the dining room has such an airy feeling

Okay off to Frida’s bedroom to view all her special treasures. She loved to collect doll house pieces and set up scenes. She also made puppets and did puppet shows for children, you may remember this from the movie FRIDA. Which if you have not seen Salma Hayek as Frida, I highly recommend the Movie. It is very well done and the Director Julie Taymor did an incredible job and if you rent or buy the movie with the special features, they are equally as interesting to watch.

Fridas day bed with the mirror above that her Mother had made for her so she could paint. On the bed is a death mask of Fridas face made out of bronze wrapped in one of her robosos (shawls)
Fridas day bed with the mirror above that her Mother had made for her so she could paint. On the bed is a death mask of Fridas face made out of bronze wrapped in one of her robosos (shawls)
In Frida’s bedroom she had a papermache skeleton on the top of her bed and use to wake up in the morning touch it's hand and say "Hola Mana! which in English means Hi there, Sis"” Frida's bed with skeleton on top You may recall the painting called “The Dream (The Bed)” which Frida painted in 1940 of her bed and the skeleton on top
The painting called "The Dream (the Bed) 1940  Note: Frida's paintings often had more than one name!
The painting called “The Dream (the Bed) 1940 Note: Frida’s paintings often had more than one name!