Smell + Memory

Tin Heart

Mexican tin art, known as hojalata or lata, is one of the lesser known Mexican folk arts.  Appearing in the 1500s, brought over from Spain, it has changed little over the centuries. Inexpensive, strong and easily bent, it is an easy element for artisans to work with.  While sometimes used to make candlestick holders, bowls, plates and pitchers , objects are most often purely decorative because of tin’s tendency to rust.  Tin hearts are especially common around Christmas time as they are often used as ornaments.  This particular heart wears the perfume of my mother and evokes memories of her dressing our Christmas tree.  Our Christmas tree only wore tin art and it was tradition for us to hang them together.  We would celebrate Christmas Mexican style on December 24th to free up December 25th for the sole celebration of my birthday.

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