The Juan Horta Family carve some of the best wooden masks in Mexico. Although Don Juan Horta passed away in 2006, his 5 sons are keeping the tradition alive and well. Manuel Abeiro (seen here), Juan Jose and Modesto still carve the traditional dance masks. Each day they work at their father's old workshop. Older brothers Orlando and Hugo carve exquisite miniature versions, almost exclusively for collectors. The family lives in the village of Tócuaro, Michoacán. The Horta Brothers have been selected to exhibit their masks at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, NM.
Epifanio Fuentes is a woodcarver from San Martin Tilcajete, Oaxaca. Many of the families in the village carve whimsical figures out of wood. Their inspiration comes from the twisted wood itself as well as religious, decorative and traditional motifs. Epifanio is known for his daring use of color and imaginative figures, which include angels, animals, and saints. His wife Laurencia paints the figures with bright acrylic paints and imaginative designs. Epifanio has exhibited his work in the International Museum of Folk Art, in Santa Fe, NM.
Isabel Castillo was born in Izucar de Matamoros, Publa in south central Mexico. The Tree of Life and other figures she creates are inspired by five generations of artisans in her family. Isabel learned her craft from her mother and grandmother; the latter lived to be 105 years old. The animal and Day of the Dead candleholders in their bright and shiny colors are everyone's favorites. Her sons and nephews are carrying on the tradition of making the colorful candelabras and sculptures.
Pablo Paredes Goche is a ceramic artist from Tlaquepaque, Mexico. He comes from a family of artisans famous for their traditional figures depicting Mexican rural village life. The region where he lives, in the state of Jalisco, is known for a variety of traditional ceramics. Pablo is known for his nacimientos, angels and devils. The Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City houses his Nacimientos. The Ortega Family has been working in barro betus for generations. Barro betus gets its name from the oil bath it receives in aceite de betus (oil of betus - a resin extracted from the pine tree) before it is fired. Santa Cruz de las Huertas, Tonalá a town not far from Guadalajara is known as the main producer of barro betus. Subject matter ranges from roosters, dogs, pigs to Trees of Life - all made with a whimsical sense of fun and bright colors. Gerardo and his brothers Oscar and Eleutario continue to create the whimsical figures in their family workshop. The imaginative and fanciful Carlos and Albert Collection is the unique collaborative effort of two individuals from vastly diverse cultures – Carlos Muñoz, a native of Mexico, and Albert Ickenroth from Holland. Their work pays tribute to the many Mexican masters who have come before them, but they have developed a style that is uniquely their own. Their enduring fascination with Mexico is clearly evidenced in their exuberant use of color and pattern; indeed the influences of both of their cultures are present in the Carlos and Albert Collection.