We met a lot of interesting people in San Miguel. The place is really the most amazing mix of people. It has a huge number of ex-pat Americans. Many of these folks move to San Miguel to enjoy their retirement, but a fair number of artists relocate there for the ambiance that comes with living in a city populated with like-minded creative people. Also, there are two large art schools in San Miguel, so opportunities to earn money through teaching abound.
Several of us took classes while in San Miguel. I've already told you about my photography class, but others took classes in cooking, paper mache, salsa dancing, etc. It was through one of our fellow travelers' encounter with an American who taught a paper mache workshop that we learned about an amazing woman and her beautiful dolls.
Lisa Simms is a jewelry and sculpture artist who has transplanted herself to San Miguel and, along with creating and teaching, has opened a gallery. The gallery is located in her fun and eclectic house in the center of town.
Her kitchen walls are painted a fabulous salmon red and covered with dolls.
Many, if not most, of these dolls were created by a woman named Soledad. Lisa talked about how when she first saw these dolls, she was struck by how different they were from others she had seen. Then she told us this incredible story of how Soledad is a poor, simple woman who crafts these dolls in hopes of earning a few pesos to support her ailing husband. She also mentioned that, despite her own hardships, whenever Soledad brings a new collection of dolls for Lisa to sell in her gallery, all that concerns her is how Lisa is fairing as a single woman and what Lisa might need. Lisa detailed how these dolls are made out of donated bits and scraps and that Soledad oftentimes makes dolls with missing limbs or other obvious defects because that too is part of her reality. Lisa even showed us a journal of sorts that one woman made about the dolls that she purchased from Soledad and their( her and the dolls) adventures upon returning to the U.S.
Needless to say, I was incredibly moved by Lisa's story of Soledad and even asked if I could mail her fabric for her dolls. Unfortunately, Lisa said that the post in Mexico is so unreliable that it's unlikely the package would arrive undisturbed. I did, however, want to support Soledad's efforts and her art. So, I purchased two dolls.
Now I begin my own adventure with Soledad's creations.