Feb 12, 2018


Barcelona-based artist in residence at the Artspace, Cynthia Fusillo's majorly popular exhibition is in its last week.... it's hard to imagine how much busier we could all be, but here we are. "The Bird in Me Wants to Sing" opened on Jan. 27 and has been mesmerizing the crowds ever since. 

Bringing work from her six-month artist residency at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, Fusillo has created and re-created installations since arriving. Paper dresses, shoes, hats, drawings and paintings were collaged on the wall, representing the breadth and depth of experimentation there.  Now they live side by side with works that she created here in San Miguel, from natural, organic and recycled materials found, borrowed or otherwise given with love. 

Fusillo herself refers to her work as autobiographical, because “I use my own body as a model or measure for the dresses and figures. I then ¨collage¨ my experiences on them combining several techniques. I like to work with materials that have been already used and I get so involved in a process such as sewing, burning, printing so as not to think so much, somewhat like a meditation. My goal is to shake up those ideas we have about a particular material or form or its use and take it apart so as to create something new and surprising."

Closing party for this show is Sun. Feb.18, at 4:00. The artist talk will begin at 4:30; there is some seating but space is limited. Come early to hear her speak, or come later and say goodbye. Either way, we'll send her off with enough fanfare to entice her back again. 

Dec 29, 2017


As have most of her fans, I've always loved Frida Kahlo's self portrait of her two sides: the indigenous side and her European side. You can read all about the meaning, the analysis, the critic reviews of Las Dos Fridas and still walk away wishing you knew more. 
Las Dos Fridas, Frida Kahlo, 1939
Many artists over the years have replicated this fascinating scenario in their own visionary ways and I decided, while working on dolls for DOLL THERAPY, that it was time to imagine my own version. My Las Dos Frida Barbies is a small theatrical box / shrine with Barbies holding hands, hearts of milagros instead of blood, her sewing scissors, an original Barbie wedding dress, and a Tejuana huipil and skirt hand-sewn by La Huipilista herself. The shrine is set in a rosa mexicana nicho with some of Frida's favorite things: colorful flowers, paint tubes, brushes, mirror and turpentine bucket. 
Las Dos Frida Barbies/ installation by Lena Bartula, 2017

Las Dos Frida Barbies, Lena Bartula, 2017
And now to share with you some of the wild and varied Las Dos Fridas I found on the internet last week. I apologize that I don't have the names of the artists who created them because well, sometimes they just aren't available. If you know the artists, feel free to share with me and our audience. It feels rather exciting and enjoyable to be in league with all these other artists who found themselves entranced and inspired by this same image. 

por Humberto Spindola

Nov 29, 2017


“Doll Therapy”

“A doll is one of the most intimate expressions possible of the human spirit….a commentary on human society, the little world of dolldom reflecting the great, for everything that happens in the great world is reflected in the little. A dollographer, when he studies a doll, studies also people, a social scene; and sometimes there may be only a doll to tell the story.”  Marguerite Young

            The American novelist who scripted this quote was a doll collector and creative writing instructor.  One of her students, Edward Swift, grew up around rag dolls lovingly made by his grandmother, but he confesses “they were something mysterious, not cute or precious.” His work in this exhibition, bundled paper-mache creatures that frolic, haunt, twist and turn, hint at the story of his relationship with those childhood dolls. Swift sees them as people bewildered by the complexities of life, yet with a sense of humor about their journey. Some seem to be waving a flag, others appear to sing; all are thought-provoking.

Edward Swift

            Multidisciplinary and experimental artist Gabriela Buenrostro Solórzano, known in San Miguel as Gaby Black, employs recycled materials such as discarded toys, doll parts and furniture. Embellished and swaddled with yarn, baubles and beads, her hybrid babies are highly textured and colorful. Inspired by natural and organic forms, Black’s work is infused with a sense of the unknown, unexpected and unexplained.
Gaby Black

            A member of Philadelphia’s Dumpster Divers, Ellen Benson says “I look at a bottlecap on the street and see a little hat; my old paintbrushes look like legs.” Her doll people incorporate plastic bags, recycled paper, old doll clothes, toys and other found objects. A natural born storyteller, she sees cigar boxes as houses in which to create a narrative. Benson has agoal of creating 1000 figures; she’s made about 600 so far.
Ellen Benson

            When asked “why dolls?’, Carole Clement proclaims “because I can!” Her dolls, as in her other art, tell her what they want. Some require lengthy layering while others want to be kissed fast and furious. Her work is an attempt to uncover, tame and embrace the spirit of those dolls with mindfulness and nonattachment. Like a midwife, she’s there to listen, massage, or get out of the way so that their mystery can unfold. 
Carole Clement

As for myself, I'm back to repurposing Barbie dolls. She’s a blank canvas, open to endless possibilities, ready for visual messages different from the ones given to the children who collect her and dress her up. Barbie has grown up somewhat since she was invented, but the perfection and proportions still convey an impossible ideal. My dolls, like my other work, play in the realm of social, political and commentary.  
Lena Bartula

All the dolls in this exhibition will be for sale, and the show continues through January 9, 2018.  La Huipilista Artspace is participating in Guadalup/Arte December Art Crawl, a new event I organized with some artist neighbors. All of us live and work in Guadalupe, and all will have different hours that day. 
Participating venues will provide maps of locations and times of events.  

Nov 5, 2017


Every year for Dia de los Muertos, I invite a small group of friends to help me construct an altar for this ancient tradition of honoring those who came before us. Altars at this time of year are called "ofrendas," on which we offer food, drink, sugar skulls, etc. to the visiting souls. 
Dia de los Muertos ofrenda 2017

Everyone brings photos of family and friends who are no longer with us, and share our memories and stories about them. Often there is a certain focus or dedication, and this year, I chose to use the huipil "Behind the Label" to remember those in the garment industry who have lost their lives in the work of making the clothes we wear. 

Tribute to the garment workers of the world.

Fashion Revolution, a movement begun
after collapse of Rana Plaza

In the photo below, I chose to remember and honor Petronila, or Doña P as she is lovingly called. I met her in Antigua a few years ago, and many of my huipiles and cortes are from her collection. She left us this year, and joins that spiritual legacy of women in the garment industry who beautify us and our world. 


Then yesterday morning, when I walked into the room, I heard a voice say "Release me" and though I don't know which one said it, I knew it was time to disassemble the ofrenda. And so it is. Until next year. 

Oct 17, 2017


La Huipilista Artspace has been open two weeks now, and I'm as excited as ever to have landed in this incredible location, in an old house that transformed beautifully into an art gallery. The inauguration was well-attended; we had fun, wine, sales, and a huge downpour. A portion of all sales that night was donated to earthquake and hurricane victims, shared between Oaxaca, Mexico City, Chiapas, Tepotzlan and Puerto Rico. Thank you all who braved the weather and contributed to a successful first event whose ripples go out far and wide beyond San Miguel and our own loving art community. 

and last week, Jessica Antonelli shot this little interview for Lokkal:

Please stop in to say hi and check out my new space when you're in San Miguel. Hours are 1-5, Thursday - Saturday, and by appointment. The rest of the week I'm in my studio making more art, still on Carlos del Castillo, only a couple of blocks away.