Sunday, August 2, 2009

La Gran Aventura: Tonalá

Friday, I went to Tonalá, an artsy-craftsy town just outside of Guadalajara, on my last university-sponsored excursion. I arrived about an hour early because I rode in with my housemate, Shanel, who had to meet an earlier bus for a trip to Tequila. (Yes, there were free samples at the tequila factory. I'm not positive that's why she had a headache when she came back, but you never know.) While I was waiting, I finished up a sock I had been working on and cast on its mate.


Our first stop in Tonalá (okay, the second if you count the bathroom) was a glass factory. That is one hot job working around those furnaces all day. Fun to watch, but not enviable.


They would work the hot glass a bit in the open and then in a mold, which in this case was a heart.

CIMG0488 CIMG0481

After the basic shape was achieved, another worker added a loop for hanging at the top. Here's the finished product in the gift shop:


Next, we went to the factory where Lupita, a collectible doll, is made and saw the entire process from the molding...


To hand-styling the clay hair...


A group of  Lupitas waiting to be fired. (No, not Donald Trump fired, kiln fired.)


The dolls are painstakingly hand-painted in one of over 25 themed designs.


The Lupita dolls are each signed by their artists before heading out to grace knick-knack shelves around the world.


We also toured a paper sculpture factory, which wasn't as exciting because it was the artisans' day off, so a woman just pointed to different areas saying, "Here's where we make the molds. Here's where we put things together. Here's where we paint."  Then we went to the gift shop where we weren't allowed to take pictures--and we were overcharged, but we were all too tired to complain.

The products were actually very interesting, though, because even though they are made from paper, they look ceramic. I snapped one photo of a group of animals waiting to be shipped:


The way they're facing the wall makes it look like they were naughty and sent to time out--well, except the pelican, who is just ashamed to be seen with such a bunch of hooligans.

After the tours, we grabbed a bite to eat: Roast chicken, rice, fresh veggies, and enough tortillas to choke a horse (And might I add, three people ate for less than $10). Of course we had to save a little room for "nieve de garrafa", aka ice cream, but believe me, it's better than regular old ice cream. Yum!

Less than a week to go! I can't wait to see my family!