We should warn you, it’s a rocky journey, with a sparkly finish, so hang onto your seat. Sometimes towns and cities go through bumpy and serious economic crisis: this was the case with a small Mexican town in the Sierra Madre.
Last July your Zocalo buyers set out on an exploratory tour, landing upon a windy, hilly little town situated at the base of a rocky mountain pass in the state of Michoacan about two hours from Mexico City.
The town was originally a thriving gold and silver mining community, but a tragic 1937 mudslide buried two mines and nearly half the town. In the face of the crushing economic downturn, the town rallied together to recreate itself. In the 1960s an entrepreneurial resident brought baubles to the town and those that didn’t have jobs started making them! Today, much of the economic force of the area is centered on Christmas ornament manufacturing.
Indeed, it has become a lovely, vibrant town, strangely celebrating the sparkle of Christmas all year round. Home workshops and large factories alike create all types of hand-blown glass ornaments, glitter and more! Everyday, Santa greets tourists and international buyers alike. Baubles of all colours imaginable are brought from storage: the grassiest greens to the seaside emerald blues, the blackest nights to rubiest reds all blown by mouth—never in a mould!—painted by hand, and shown with pride.
Today, bauble manufacturing employs 10,000 town residents working in 150 workshops. The community’s efforts have made themselves into a leading producer of Christmas “spheres” not only in Mexico but in the world; indeed, the town now exports more than $10 million dollars worth of “new gold” glass spheres each year.
The transformation from the rubble of early-century mining to industrious bauble-creation is truly a story of handcrafted hope and perseverance. From these inventive workshops to your home, Zocalo is pleased to present a special selection: handmade with hope and selected to inspire your season.