MEET THE ARTISTS 
 

DRIED FLOWER
CRAFTS

(Flores Inmortales)

The ArtisTS

The Raymundo Sánchez Family

  • Israel Raymundo Cornelio and Liliana Sánchez Mateos
  • Montserrat Raymundo Sánchez
  • Laura Raymundo Sánchez

A mere handful of artisans continue to create the beautiful, natural handicraft referred to as flores inmortales (literally, immortal flowers). The objects fashioned from these vibrantly colored dried flowers are central to many aspects of Oaxacan culture. They are used year-round as toys, placards in religious and other celebratory processions (calendas), and decorations. Impressive sculptural works made of these flowers abound during Oaxaca’s Night of the Radishes on December 23, a holiday that is part of the Christmas celebration. The event culminates in an art competition displayed at the city square (zocalo) where the visitor enjoys countless variations of artistically carved radishes and dried flower sculptures. The pueblo of San Antonino Castillo Velasco is home to the few remaining artists who produce this traditional folk art.


The Raymundo Sánchez Family

 

Israel Raymundo Cornelio and Liliana Sánchez Mateos

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Pueblo of San Antonino del Castillo Velasco
Independencia #57

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-395-6535
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell: 044-951-305-6535
Cell to Cell: 951-305-6535

Israel, his wife Liliana Sánchez Mateos, and their children collaborate to produce a great variety of delicate decorative pieces and toys made of flores inmortales. This family’s craftsmanship is impeccable and their pieces are guaranteed for five years. Huge placards of religious images, such as the Virgins of Soledad and Juquila, are mounted on the walls of their patio, while compositions bearing the names of specific pueblos are secured in large baskets, to be carried on the heads of women participating in the community processions organized by the church or by cultural groups. Muñecas (human figures) wearing regional costumes and adorned with carefully crafted accessories, portray performers of the traditional Jarabe Mixteco and Danza de la Pluma dances of the “Guelaguetza” (Oaxaca’s annual state-wide dance festival). The Cornelio family typically enters some of their pieces in contests of celebratory folk art held around the Night of the Radishes that take place just before Christmas.


Montserrat Raymundo Sánchez (daughter of Israel and Liliana)
[Honorable mention, FOFA’s 2013, 2016 contests]

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Pueblo of San Antonino del Castillo Velasco
Independencia #57
info@biushita.com

(From US) Cell:
011-52-1-951-196-8306
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell:
044-951-196-8306
Cell to Cell: 951-196-8306

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The preparation of food holds an important place in Mexican society. Recipes unique to Montserrat’s village have been passed down for generations. She honors this tradition by fashioning figures of dried flowers in a domestic tableau, selecting white for the clothing to emphasize the importance of cleanliness when cooking.  Montserrat recalls her grandmother preparing one of these dishes, empanadas de amarillo, and taking them to the men working in the fields.  Although time has modified some of these traditions, her desire is to preserve these customs in all their purity -- in her words, “we have lost our leaves, but not our roots”. 


Laura Raymundo Sánchez (daughter of Israel and Liliana)
[Honorable mention, FOFA’s 2013, 2016 contests]

 
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Pueblo of San Antonino del Castillo Velasco
Independencia #57
info@biushita.com

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-394-4030
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell:
044-951-394-4030
Cell to Cell: 951-394-4030

Laura begins her pieces by creating a bamboo frame covered in oak and dried banana leaves sewn together. The flowers she uses are picked in the fields and dried in the sun for three days, then affixed to this structure with wire; her colors are based on the work to be created. Laura’s piece portrays the art of embroidery as it has been practiced for generations, to honor the women in her pueblo who continue their revered tradition. When Laura’s mother was young, she learned needlecraft from her own mother and grandmother, but when she married Laura’s father she undertook her husband’s family’s craft, instead. Laura’s dried flower tableau portrays a completed embroidered blouse and two young women at work, thus merging the family traditions of both her mother and father.