When I was in Oaxaca, we took a trip to San Martin Tilcajete to see a village of woodcarvers who made exquisite alebrijes, (Spanish pronunciation: [aleˈβɾixes]) which are fanciful hand-carved wooden sculptures made out of soft copal wood.
The hand-painted patterns were amazing on these fantastic creatures! It required a steady hand and good eyesight to create such stunningly beautiful designs such as these finished pieces:
I thought you might enjoy seeing how they were made by these very skilled artists. First the soft copal wood is carved using a machete, a chisel and a knife – such as this carver using a knife:
Details of bulls that were carved and waiting for the next step:
Once they are carved, the cracks in the wood are filled with a putty. These have been sanded and are waiting to be painted – you can see samples of the copal wood behind them. There are male and female trees with different scents and softness.
The sculptures are painted a base color(s) before the patterns are meticulously hand-painted. It was wonderful to watch them steadily paint such amazing details using vibrant colors with skilled hands:
I thought this bull was fantastic:
We got to try our hand at painting a small animal – here is my rabbit on the left – not easy to keep a steady hand! So I purchased this small lizard that someone else created…
One of the many things that impressed me about this place was the beautiful gardens that surrounded the artisans:
It was a paradise of beauty in itself – so many colors, shapes and patterns:
I hope you enjoyed my little tour! And if you would like to find out more about the alebrijes, check out this link from Wikipedia at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alebrije
Happy Doodling! 🙂