Metepec Mexico, the home of the Tree of Life or Arbol de Vida art form, which originated there, is well known for its pottery, glassware, and saddle making. It has the distinction of Pueblo Magico, or Magical City, awarded in 2012 by the Mexican Secretary of Tourism for its quality of life, beautiful location, and support of the arts.
Tree of Life
The Tree of Life, or “Arbol de Vida”, is embodied in this quaint suburb of Toluca, just outside Mexico City. Traditionally depicting stories from the Bible, such as Adam and Eve, these elaborate ceramic sculptures have expanded to include other subjects as well. Ranging from terracotta to vivid colors, the Arbol de Vida resemble a candelabra, and may range from miniature to gigantic public sculptures.
Traveling to Metepec
We arrived by bus from Taxco, San Agustin, Ameyaltepec and Iguala in our quest to find artisan produced masks, sterling silver jewelry, and clay pottery figures of the indigenous Nahua. The bus ride from Taxco to Toluca was only 124 pesos (about $9 USD). The driver of the Flecha Rojo bus line was kind to inform us when to exit the bus. The town entrance was just steps away, but, not knowing, we hopped in a taxi and went to the zocalo, town square.
From the zocolo, we had breakfast at El Choco and then proceeded to discover the artists along the main street into the zocalo as well as along the perpendicular streets. Many stores had their own family’s rendition of the Tree of Life as well as beautiful tin suns and other handicrafts from Mexican artisans in the region. Between shopping for the Tree of Life clay sculptures, we frequented our favorite coffee shop, El Quintal Cafeteria. In addition to excellent service and great coffee, we found this coffee shop to have great branding and a great sense of design.
I would recommend Metepec for serious buyers of the Arbol de Vida and other more typical Mexican decoration. It’s close proximity to Mexico City makes it an easy stop when traveling. Of course, if you would like to make a preview before going to Mexico, come visit us in Atlanta where we normally have various Tree of Life and Crosses made from this art form.