Penny Morrill


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While Carmen Tapia is rooted in the past, she works in the present and considers the challenges of the future. A native Taxqueñian, Carmen has always been immersed in the world of the silversmith. The influence of her father, Ezequiel, a respected sculptor in silver and stone, is evident in her pursuit of perfection and in her desire to constantly challenge herself technically and creatively.

For the last four years, Carmen has collaborated in a traditional sense with Maestro Francisco Díaz in his workshop. She designs and makes the maqueta and Maestro Francisco produces the work in silver and stone, with Carmen often at his side. This is a cooperative and symbiotic relationship, in which artist and master craftsman dedicate their imaginations and their energies to finding artistic solutions. This quest embodies the vision they share, and it is where the true passion lies. The interaction between Carmen Tapia and Maestro Francisco Díaz is reminiscent of the cooperative efforts over the last eighty years of so many of Taxco’s great designers and master silversmiths that resulted in an unprecedented outpouring of innovative design.

Carmen Tapia’s work reveals sophisticated references to pre-conquest jewelry and adornment, transported into the twenty-first century. In “Pectoral Ritual,” the three polished green stones are dense, ancient, and robust. The silver elements are in motion, each framing a negative space in the shape of the stones. The serpent, so central to pre-Columbian symbolism, is represented in “Reptilia” as a subtle and abstract form.

“Nodus” captured the 2007 Galardón Nacional de Platería and the work is certainly worthy of that recognition. It is a remarkable achievement. Carmen says of this necklace that in the design process, she found herself increasingly concerned not only with adornment, but with light, volume, and movement. One of the great qualities of silver is its mirror-like surface that causes light to move as the wearer moves. The contours of this necklace are sculptural, and this plasticity is greatly enhanced by the light that is reflected off the necklace’s rounded and knotted forms.


Carmen Tapia looks to the future and is hopeful that the exhibit will provide an opportunity for dialogue concerning renewal and creativity, especially among those who work in silver: “Más allá de mi propia obra, me interesa propiciar el cuestionamiento de la platería en Taxco, y que esas cuestiones sean tratadas cotidianamente entre los plateros, creo que cuestionar nuestros propios parámetros es una posibilidad real para movilizar la creación.”

The innovative designer and the master silversmith are vital to the silver industry in Taxco. The machine that dominates production in Taxco today can be pulled up and moved to China, Thailand, or Zacatecas. On the other hand, the Taxqueñians who are accomplished designers and trained in technology cannot be replaced. New silver craftsmen in Taxco should be nurtured and supported in every way — through education and with financial backing. At this critical time in Taxco, it is of the greatest importance to think beyond the possible. Consider sending promising young people from Taxco to design schools in Mexico City, Monterrey, Austin, or New York. With this as a beginning, a relationship between two educational institutions can then develop into an ongoing exchange program. Support the participation of Taxco’s designers in international trade shows in order to discover new markets. One silversmith cannot succeed on his/her own, so it is essential for the community of craftsmen to share ideas and foster what is new. With mutual support and an emphasis on creativity, Taxco can revive greatness with the artistry of the future.

Penny Morrill, Ph.D.



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  1. Posted on 12/11/2011 by Penny morrill | Kinolyar

    [...] Penny Morrill « carmentapia.comWith mutual support and an emphasis on creativity, Taxco can revive greatness with the artistry of the future. Penny Morrill, Ph.D. 23/09/2008. Martes, septiembre … [...]

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