Welcome! Bienvenidos! I'm located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where my late husband, Jean-Pierre Nutini and I operated our retail space in Squirrel Hill from 2004 ~ 2017, as an addition to our virtual store, which I began in 2002. I now sell via this site, Facebook, Instagram and at the physical location of La Palapa on the South Side. This site is a slow work in progress. If you don't see something here that you know I have, feel free to message me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A few years after we began collecting in earnest, we were married in Oaxaca by the renowned woodcarver, don Manuel Jimenez. After working together for so many years, the Jimenez family and many other artists and vendors are as family to me still, and it is their love and assistance (and that of many others of both of our families that remain) which has enabled me to continue as well, given that I'm basically just a gringa with a bunch of bad Spanglish.
My late father and mother in law each had ties to Mexico. Dr. Monique Lemaitre Leon, a professor of Latin American literature and language, was born in Mexico City. Dr. Hugo Nutini was of Chilean and Italian ancestry, and a professor of cultural anthropology who centered his field of study in the region of Tlaxcala. The three of them, along with Jean-Pierre's stepmother, also a Mexicana, spent a good part of each year of their lives in Mexico, although for each their work was based here in the US. Hugo died in April 2013, just a few months before Jean-Pierre, and Monique died in November 2015. The gifts of love, knowledge, generosity and joy that each gave to all whom they touched are as vast and far-reaching as the vacancies that we now feel in their absences.
Prior to opening the store, I spent many years in the jewelry business as a graduate gemologist and this enabled me to feel very comfortable in the role of buying and selling Mexican jewelry. It took years of searching to find some of the best designers in Mexico and you will see their work here.
Other diverse artesanias lay within the shop collections, the result of many years of drives to the middle of nowhere, going village to village, house to house, in search of many of the Grand Maestros of Mexican Folk Art. These wares include: masks, Huichol art, clothing, both traditional and modern, textiles, copper ware and ceramics from many regions, including Guadalajara, Mata Ortiz, Izucar de Matamoros, Puebla, Metepec and the Federal District.
You'll also find a wonderful selection of items representing some of the most beloved and famous icons from Mexican and Latin American cultures, such as: Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, San Juan Diego, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Che Guevara, Emiliano Zapata, Maria Sabina, and an astounding assortment of items for the commemoration of the Day of the Dead.
Jean-Pierre, his parents and his stepmother gave me Mexico, and Mexico gave and continues to give me numerous meaningful lessons about love, perseverance, transformation and beauty. It is my honor to share a small part of that with you.