Apaseo – Wood Carving Town

Wood carvers of Apaseo June 2007

Apaseo is a small working town, mostly agricultural, but hosts a group of wood workers that carve mostly saints, angels, Jesus figures, along with carnival horses, nativities, and various other works of art. Much of the work is life size, and pieces finished in a surprisingly quick time – a day or two.

Most of the work is sold just outside of town along the highway corridor in shops like these, someone’s home up above with the lower floors dedicated in some cases to carving, but most cases, a rustic showroom.

As we walked into the house, under the covered porch, was this fatastic table base of three large horse heads, complete with gasoline cans, tools, a bench in the general disorder of things.

San Judas Tadeo, patron saint of lost causes

The family altar, mixed in with carvings, empty coke bottles, saints, a carved nativity and Virgin of Guadalupe carved out of a half log.

On the back showroom wall were carvings of small statues, carnival horses, and Don Quixote.

Along the front porchwall is an antique carving of Santiago Matamoros

Juan Araiza, carver and shop keeper

Our friend Aron and myself in an angled room heaped with saints, angels and small animal carvings.

Jesus, saints, angels, and the trademark San Pascual, patron saint of cooking, carved in a goofy way with a large bulbous nose

San Miguel

This was one of my favorite rooms, almost an altar lain flat on the floor with many Jesus figures waiting for the cross, San Miguel, the Virgin of Gudalupe, animals and an ornately carved table which is typical of the furniture made here.

Don Quixote reading a book

The first workshop we visited, where the whole family, even the young women were carving saints.

She has been carving since she was 13 years old, now a viable worker in the family business.

The tools are placed and pounded with the palm of the hand

The younger generation…

Entering the family workshop – Saint Francis lying on a block of wood, great shadows and light.

San Francisco, tools, coffee and cookies.

Unfinished work

The elder generation, carving in the entrance to the home

Herrimientos – tools of the trade

Another workshop. Except for the mother who was cooking, the entire family was carving in the outdoor kitchen, sitting on the floor or on short stumps.

Virgin Mary’s, carnival horses and a thousand chips of wood

San Judas Tadeo in the foreground

The grandfather, resting next to a life size Virgin of guadalupe, with the outdoor grill & washbucket against the back wall.

Across the street, a carver of musicians.

San Charbel, first saint of Lebanon, and a basic carving, unfinished of the Virgin of Guadalupe

Tool storage, photos of saints

Saint carved into a burl

Aron, goofing

The last workshop, where the carvings are larger than life size. This carving is of the Virgin Mary on the moon with a snake.

© All rights reserved, April 2006, Dos Mujeres Mexican Folk Art


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