craft fails

La Casa Azul

My crafting lately has been fairly unproductive. I go through spells where I sprawl on my couch with all the vigor of a baked potato. Other times I’ll get a frenzied “I MUST FINISH EVERYTHING” energy and dig into my old craft supplies. It was during one of those spurts that I finished a project last month.

This is a cameo of Frida Kahlo from a 2016 Little Box of Crochet project. It’s been in my stash for all these years because when I initially received it, I didn’t think I had the crochet skills to finish this project. (And maybe I still don’t? Hah!) It was an interesting project but definitely tedious. I was supposed to trace Frida’s face and eyebrows onto the cameo first before stitching them, but I got impatient and went freehand and…this is the result. I’m glad I finished it, but I can’t say I’m very happy with it. Poor Frida just looks pretty wonky here.

How about we set aside my tragic project and talk instead about La Casa Azul? I was in Mexico City in January and visted La Casa Azul on my last day there. This charming home was once Frida Kahlo’s and is now a museum. I was excited to see the exhibits and walk around the grounds.

The museum is located in the vibrant Coyoácan neighborhood. There was a long line to get inside, but it moved quickly as women selling Frida keepsakes and other traditional Mexican art weaved in and out of the line. If you want to take photos in the museum, there’s a separate fee besides ticket entry- I don’t recall the price, but it was cheap, and well worth the additional cost.

The house is a rich, cobalt blue and there are lush gardens on the grounds.

Photographs and paintings of Frida and her family dotted the walls.

Prior to the museum tour, a Frida Kahlo expert gave our travel group a short lecture about her life, her passions, her art, and her relationship with Diego Rivera. Walking through the museum, I was able to observe several consistent themes thread throughout Frida’s work, including her relationship with Rivera, a childhood battle with polio that had left her disabled, surviving a nearly fatal bus accident at eighteen that had left her with severe injuries, and experiencing several miscarriages.

Based on the art and ephemera I observed throughout the home, it was clear that these experiences had an enormous impact on her (note – the photos I am posting are not graphic or explicit, but please scroll past the next gallery if this is an upsetting topic).

We wandered through Frida’s bright kitchen, bedrooms, and studio. I was struck by how odd it was to be wandering through this space as a museum, when it had been someone’s home less than a century before.

Little fragments of Frida’s life – like a palette of paints on her worktable – remained untouched, as if she’s going to return any minute. It’s hard for me to see these exhibits without experiencing a tiny existential crisis and thinking how ephemeral everything is. This was once someone’s house, and now I was wandering through it and taking photos of her private possessions. What trinkets from my own life might be interesting to museum visitors another hundred years from now – a vaccine card?

The museum also has a separate exhibit showcasing several of Frida’s famous outfits and other fashion inspired by her art and life, but I didn’t take photos of those.

I’ve been fortunate to have been able to travel quite a bit after getting vaccinated in 2021, and one thing I like looking for when I visit a new country is COVID protocol signs. COVID signs and stickers were still scattered throughout the museum, almost relics themselves now that the world has opened back up.

I’m so grateful to have been able to visit this museum and learn more about this incredible artist. I hope you enjoyed this virtual visit to La Casa Azul! And it’s okay if you laughed at my wonky project, too. 🙂

2 replies »

  1. Jennifer – I am so jealous. Frida Kahlo may be my favorite artist. Maybe because I grew up in Laredo and I can see the joy and color of Mexico mixed with a life in pain. Thanks so much for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for reading it, Grandma Pat! I’m glad you enjoyed and did not know Frida is your favorite artist – that is awesome!


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