Tag Archives: Mexico

Symbolism – Mexican Huichol bead/yarn paintings

19 Mar
Tunuri and the Blue Deer

Tunuri and the Blue Deer

On a recent trip to Mexico we encountered the bead and yarn paintings of the Huichol. They live in the mountains of Mexico and have kept their traditional way of life for many generations. They still live the same way their great great grandparents did.

{read book: The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer: A Huichol Indian Story. Also discuss info on the “history” pages at the end}

show: photos of beaded art & yarn paintings
– briefly discuss methods, notice multi-colored patterns in the forms

The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer is a traditional Huichol story about a young child finding his path in life by connecting with the powers of nature – which are very important to the Huichol. The story tells of the experiences of young Tunuri, who becomes lost in the woods. He meets the magical Blue Deer who introduces Tunuri to who? Father Sun, Mother Earth, Brother Wind, Sister Water and Grandfather Fire while leading him back to his human family.

This story tells us about how the Huichol people relate to nature. How do we relate to nature?
Another thing we find in this story are *many* symbols. What is a symbol?

Huichol artist placing beads individually

Huichol artist placing beads individually

yarn painting

yarn painting

symbol: an image that represents something else – an idea or physical thing.

where do we encounter symbols?
– maps
– street signs (STOP, Hospital)
– uniforms – police, sports, super heroes

– stop sign (red octagon)
– tent drawing on a map means camping
– heart shape is symbol of love

What symbols did we see in Tunuri’s story? What do they mean?
– blue deer – messenger
– sun/rays – Father Sun who gives life and light
– lake – Sister Water
– cloud – Brother Wind
– garden/flowers – Mother Earth
– fire – Grandfather Fire who created everything, symbol of heat and strength

Each page is full of symbols – if there were no words would we be able to tell the basic story by looking at the symbols?

We are going to make “bead” paintings but instead of beads we are going to use stamps.  The Huichol artists individually place every bead in their creation so we are going to individually stamp each of our “beads” onto our paper.

Think of a symbol or scene you like from the book or from the images we looked at. Using the colors you have, create your own “bead” painting of a symbol.
**FILL THE WHOLE SQUARE WITH COLOR** Try not to leave any white
Place your “beads” carefully next to each other and not overlap
If you play Minecraft think of your drawing like you’re crafting it from blocks

one set per two students

one set per two students

 – pencils (preferably new and unsharpened)
– multi-colored ink stamp pads
– white paper

materials for the class

materials for the class

Write your name in pencil on the back

Using the eraser end of the pencil, *gently* tamp it into the colored ink (ONLY one color per pencil!!) and stamp it onto the paper to make your designs.

You can get 2-3 stamps on paper for each tamp on the ink pad

Start by making the main part of your image then fill in all the white with the time you have left.

if done early:
use scrap paper to make bookmarks using the same method but do any design you choose. If everyone finishes with time to spare we can share a few of our symbol “bead” paintings.IMG_6518 IMG_6524 IMG_6597