Huichol Bead Art

HuicholHuichol (pronounciation) art dates back millennia and is created by the Huichol people of Mexico. Using intricate design, vibrant color and sacred symbols, the art has been a representation of visions seen by Huichol shamans. It has many forms.

Traditionally, in this type of Huichol art, glass beads or yarn is applied with bees wax. Unfortunately, it will melt if it’s in sunlight or too close to a heat source.

Today, more permanent adhesives are used, such as Tacky glue and E6000. It tends to be about preference, what adhesive you find easiest to use. You may want to test them on a practice area before hand… we have been using E6000 because we use it for almost every type of project and we’re familiar with it’s temperament.

(We DO NOT recommend using hot glue. It dries too fast and you’ll burn your flippin fingers off.
It’s a poor adhesive anyway, temporary at best.)

On the right, you’ll see a finished piece. A figure of a bird, approximately 4 inches tall, created by Andujar approximately ten years ago.

Surface Area

Non-glazed ceramic and/or unfinished wood figures or plaques are great objects to use if you decide to take on the challenge. You want a porous surface to give your adhesive something to grip. If you want perfection, you may want to use a plaque or a machine produced object that has a very even surface. Other objects (like our cow skull below) has a more organic surface so it’s harder to align the beads in an even pattern.

Beads

Craft stores and other big retailers with a craft isle usually carry them. The beads come in different sizes. You can use smaller beads for smaller projects and larger for larger ones. It’s easier if you use the same size bead throughout the entire piece. It makes it easier to create an even pattern.

If you want to try yarn, then go to the yarn store, I hear that’s where they keep it…

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Pattern & Design

You’ll want to search, Huichol art pattern ideas, to see examples of patterns and design. This will help when you map out your design, making it up as you go works too. Everyone’s process is different.

The cow skull shown has a very uneven surface so it’s near impossible to create perfection. Andujar has more patience that I do, when my project gives me trouble, it gets thrown across the room or set on fire! I’m a psycho Virgo perfectionist, need I say more?

Cow Skull Prep

Assuming you have and idea of design, you can pencil it in as you can see above. It doesn’t need every detail, just use it as a guide.

Applying Glue

Apply a small area of adhesive (we used E6000) to your object, maybe an inch or two square. If the glue dries before you can apply beads, you’ll have some real issues! Keep it small to start.

Apply it thick enough to push the bead into slightly, but not so much to submerge the beads! Again, try a practice piece to get the feel.

Huichol Cow Skull

The beads are applied flat with the hole facing out toward you, you should see the hole. It’s done this way for more surface area on adhesive and if it’s flat, it won’t tip over.

Questions? Ask away in the comments below….

Comments

  1. So creative!

  2. Mary Kopp says:

    Just love the bright colors and interesting patterns. Thanks for sharing.

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