One of our favourite states in Mexico is Nayarit, which stretches from the coastal resort of Puerto Vallarta up to the borders of Sinaloa and Mazatlan. It takes in amazing hidden beaches, jungle thick with wild animals and exotic fruit, and vast expanses of open desert. It's probably the place in Mexico we've spent most time in and where we feel most at home. It also has a mysterious, almost spiritual air, perfectly exemplified by the Huichol people who call Nayarit their home.
The Huichol are a proud, extraordinary people with an incredible heritage and history. They also produce some quite stunning pieces of art, inspired by the visions they experience having eaten peyote, a type of hallucinogenic cactus. This is not a kind of "turn on, tune in, drop out" vibe, however - the Huichol see taking peyote as an intrinsic part of their cultural and religious identities. It is not something they do lightly.
The results are staggering. We visited the Tanana Huichol Gallery in Sayulita, a fair trade organisation that supports a school and permaculture projects in the Huichol homelands. The range of incredible jewellery was a joy to see, though sadly due to exchange rates and the length of time it takes to make each piece, it wouldn't have been cost-effective for us to sell any in the shop.
When we got to Mexico City we were delighted to find a project inspired by the Huichol, giving their designs a modern twist. Ulises works with people living with AIDS in Guanajuato who ould otherwise struggle to find work. The designs are contemporary takes on Huichol designs (without the drugs). They use delica beads and Swarovski crystals to achieve the results, which we loved. The first capsule collection is available online now and we hope to be able to showcase more Huichol Harmony designs during the year.