Juan Vázquez Menor,
Although they are unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, most Mexican buyers — unlike foreigners –always haggle to pay less for the teapot bule or guaje (gourd) or one that is finely painted inside and out by maestro Juan Vázquez Menor of Temalacatzingo, Guerrero.
So far, the Chinese have not been able to reproduce them because machines cannot be used. The gourds are cut, polished and hand painted, with natural paintings made with plant and minerals gathered from nature. Juan says, "If there was a machine to make work such as mine, everything would be easier. But this is art, each is unique made with the hands of my family and cannot be reproduced by a machine.”
Juan’s work is a family heritage. He recognizes that the younger generation does not want to follow the traditional way of painting the gourds. It can be discouraging for parents like Juan, because their children want to go to the U.S. to look for a better life, and they do not appreciate the traditional crafts of their parents. It is the worst misfortune for a peasant craftsman.
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