Artisan Spotlight: Melesio Rodriguez (and Margot de Taxco)
Have you ever taken a life-changing vacation?
Margot van Voorhies did. In 1937, she took a trip that altered the course of her whole life.
While on vacation in Taxco, she met and fell in love with the silversmith Antonio Castillo. She moved there permanently, and the couple married. Seeing her artistic talent, Castillo encouraged her to try her hand at silver jewelry. Her creations — most notably silver-and-enamel snake designs — became wildly popular over the next decade. John Wayne and Lana Turner were among her Hollywood clients.
In 1948, Castillo and van Voorhies divorced, but she kept making jewelry under the name Margot de Taxco. She taught a handful of talented people her craft. One of them was Melesio Rodriguez.
During his years working at the famed Margot de Taxco shop, Rodriguez mastered and honed his artisan skills. He was so gifted and responsible, van Voorhies gave him an artisan foreman position. He oversaw a staff of hundreds of artisans producing Margot de Taxco pieces. Over his years of dedicated service, Rodriguez and van Voorhies developed a trusted and loyal bond.
But then everything was turned upside down again. In the mid-1950s, the government shut down the Margot de Taxco shop for not paying taxes. (That’s the rumor, anyway.) When the shop closed, van Voorhies gave Rodriguez a majority of the existing design molds.
What happened since?