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Volunteer Arts & Crafts Project in Mexico

Culture & Community - Volunteer on Arts & Crafts Project

In Guadalajara, Projects Abroad has established a unique Culture & Community project, ideal for creative volunteers with an artistic flair. Based in Tlaquepaque, a district of Guadalajara located around 30 minutes by bus from the city centre, volunteer placements can be arranged in a local ceramic workshop.

Tlaquepaque, along with Tonala, another district of Guadalajara are famed for their production of traditional Mexican crafts, and both areas are home to a large number of workshops. Local artisans predominantly produce ceramic and pottery works, which are sold in local markets and to customers around the world.

Projects Abroad work with Ceramic 1, a family owned workshop founded around 25 years ago. In the early days the workshop only produced decorative tiles, but today a team of around four artisans work to make wall plaques, jugs and wash basins as well as tiles decorated in both traditional and modern styles. The majority of their products are made to order and clients include Mexican hotels as well as German and Canadian customers.

Volunteering on the Arts & Crafts Project with Projects Abroad

Culture & Community, Arts & Crafts - Making a mouldThis project enables creative volunteers to become craftspeople and get involved in the production of basic ceramic works, from start to finish. Previous volunteers have come from all walks of life and have included gap year students, career breakers and mature travellers. Your working day will start at around 9am and usually finishes at around 1pm, a convenient time to head home to your host family for lunch.

Your placement will be broken down into phases and you will spend time working on each stage of the production of ceramics. Firstly you will learn and assist in making moulds, before mixing clay and casting various ceramic items. Following this you will be able to hand paint your own designs onto your creations, taking inspiration from your experiences in Mexico and the work of the artisans around you. Finally you will learn how to glaze your product, before it is fired in the kiln; the final stage in the production of ceramics.

Completing these phases usually takes one month; however, this project is available for two weeks if you don't have time to join us for a month or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for short term volunteering for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to accomplish as much as someone volunteering for a longer period.

Culture & Community, Arts & Crafts - The workshop

Ceramic 1 is a friendly workshop, with a relaxed atmosphere, that allows volunteers to get involved in the production of their own ceramic wares. You will learn about the production process, and the local artisans will be wiling to chat about their work, depending on your knowledge of Spanish!

Guadalajara is a fantastic city for anybody interested in art and traditional craft making. Many workshops throughout Tlaquepaque and Tonala are open to the public for browsing or buying and there are regular street markets selling large quantities of locally made handicrafts. In addition Guadalajara is home to many Art Galleries and the World Heritage site of Hospicio Cabañas houses a large modern art collection as well as stunning murals in the chapel by the highly acclaimed Mexican artist, Jose Clemente Orozco.

"The workshop was a pleasant, tranquil retreat from the busy city. It was a great opportunity to learn the whole process from start to finish and have something to take home with you. Everyone was very helpful and you have plenty of time to get on with things at your own pace."
Carol Lovelock - Arts & Crafts Volunteer


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