Seasons in the Pacific Northwest seem unpredictable some times, but you can make this spring last for years with corn husk flowers! This upcoming April 16 (6-8pm), the multi-talented artist and frequent Milagro collaborator Nelda Reyes will conduct a workshop teaching you this expressive tradition. Read on to learn about the handicraft, and make sure to RSVP to reserve your spot for the class!
The central role that maize has played in feeding the Americas has also made everything about it ever-present in the culture: religious calendars and traditions were built around the production of corn, including giving rise to different gods representing its maturation cycle, such as the Nahua deities Cinteotl (young corn), Xilonen (ear of corn) and Chicomecoatl (goddess of the corn harvest). As such an important element of native cultures, almost every part of the plant has found a use, and the husks have served myriad purposes for millennia, from making floor coverings to
treating bladder and urinary tract infections. In Mexico, the totomochtle industry has even fueled much-needed economic recovery for indigenous groups in the past few decades.
Flowers made from shaped dry corn husks are popular decorations because
the materials are inexpensive and easy to find, and they can be suitable
to any setting, from a folksy casita to a Martha Stewart photo-essay. The rise of globalization as well as the emerging pride among immigrant communities in the US have popularized this folk art outside of Mexico. Likewise, the growth in acceptance of Mexican food the world over has also generated greater supplies of husks, allowing some agriculturally-based communities to supplement their finances through these handicrafts even as grain prices shrink.
Some Mexican regions with strong indigenous cultures not only continue to preserve the craft, but also celebrate it. During La Noche de los Rábanos (Radish Night), a traditional art event that has taken place for over a century in Oaxaca City, artists compete with their creations in two categories, separated by whether the corn husks are natural or painted/dyed. In the small town of Xico, Veracruz, the dedicated artisan Socorro Pozo Soto created a museum featuring her work in the medium from the past four decades.
Come to Milagro and participate in this millenarian tradition, guided by Nelda Reyes as you create your own corn husk flowers. The two-hour workshop is only $15 per person including materials and light refreshments, but space is limited. Go online now to reserve your spot!