Here is what I learned about this art form: Alebrijes (Spanish pronunciation: [aleˈβɾixes]) are brightly colored Oaxacan-Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures. The first alebrijes, along with use of the term, originated with Pedro Linares. In the 1930s, Linares fell very ill and while he was in bed, unconscious, Linares dreamt of a strange place resembling a forest. There, he saw trees, animals, rocks, clouds that suddenly turned into something strange, some kind of animals, but, unknown animals. He saw a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull horns, a lion with an eagle head, and all of them were shouting one word, "Alebrijes". Upon recovery, he began recreating the creatures he saw in cardboard and paper mache and called them Alebrijes.
There was already a tradition of wood carved creatures in Mexico, and eventually there resulted in a marriage of the two arts.....traditional carvers began to paint their pieces with bright vivid colors. For our workshop we stuck to the paper mache variety.
Go, Teri! At home, she prepared our creatures with a coat of gesso so we could get right to decorating.
Here is what we were given:
I decided to paint mine black and then add patterns using paint, paint markers, and various pens (glaze, gel, souffle).
We decided to name our gators. Meet Floradora. And here are a few of her friends:
I knew just the right place for Floradora when I returned home. Here she is, happily climbing a wall with a couple of very distant relatives.
I found this photo online. What wonderful colors and designs!
I would love to have an entire menagerie creeping and flying around my home. As long as they were just the imaginary kind, of course. A lone water bug once kept me awake in terror for an entire night. But that's a whole other story.