[San Martín Tilcajete]
Ventura Fabián Martínez
Emanuel Fabian Hernández
The Fabian Melchor Family

  • Magdaleno Fabián Melchor
  • Oscar Fabián Melchor
  • Raymundo Fabián Melchor

The Fabián Ortega Family

  • Benito Fabián Ortega
  • Enrique Fabián Ortega
  • Victor Fabián Ortega
  • Airin Viviana García

Norberto Fabián Xuana

The Fuentes Family
Fuentes/Santiago workshop

  • Epifanio Fuentes Vázquez & Laurencia Santiago Hernández
  • Magaly Fuentes Santiago
  • Rubí Perla Fuentes Santiago
  • Ángela Stephanie Xilotl Cruz

Fuentes/Gómez workshop

  • Efraín Fuentes Santiago
  • Dulce Abril Fuentes Gómez

Iván Fuentes Santiago

Fuentes/Piña workshop

  • Zeni Fuentes Santiago
  • Fátima Janice Fuentes Piña
  • Laura Michelle Fuentes Piña

San Martín Tilcajete

Ventura Fabián Martínez

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #65.JPG
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #66.JPG

Pueblo of San Martín Tilcajete
Reforma #13
fabianxu@gmail.com (email of his son,
Norberto Fabián Xuana below)

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-306-7602
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell: 044-951-306-7602
Cell to Cell: 951-306-7602

Ventura, one of the most senior carvers of his pueblo comparable in vintage to (the late) Isidoro Cruz, began at 17 to carve masks used for traditional purposes. Later, inspired by masks he had seen in papier mâché, Ventura decided to render them in wood, painting some and leaving others in their natural color. In his late 20s he was invited by the state folk art store to create miniature figures such as musicians; this was the beginning of a new creative direction that culminated in the dancing animal partners he introduced in the 1970s. They remain his favorite piece to this day. He also carves pyramics encompassing diverse elements, such as skeletons and animals.


Emanuel Fabián Hernández
[Honorable mention in decorative painting of woodcarving, FOFA’s 2016 contest]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #67.jpg

Pueblo of San Martín Tilcajete
Avenida Hidalgo #31
coffe1114@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9028
Cell: 011-52-1-951-183-3800
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9028
Landline to Cell: 044-951-183-3800
Cell to Cell: 951-183-3800

Heir to a family tradition, Emanuel honors his generation by adding a new creative dimension. He has participated with illustrators from the Economic Culture Fund to create an authentic and different folk art. Each of his artistic works conveys a story that Emanuel develops as he works. An example is "Chano," the name of an imaginary character who wears painted images of the other characters in his story, and carries a magical banana. Emanuel’s aim is "to create a relationship between figurative arts and literature." A teacher by profession, he enjoys telling the stories of his characters to his friends, and then revealing the figures he creates with techniques his father taught him. 


The Fabián Melchor Family

 

Magdaleno Fabián Melchor
[Honorable mention in woodcarving, FOFA’s 2011, 2013, 2016 contests]

Pueblo of San Martin Tilcajete
Privada del Piru s/n

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-312-4656
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell: 044-951-312-4656
Cell to Cell: 951-312-4656

Magdaleno began carving at age 12, making small, somewhat static pieces, but with time he added more expression. When he was young, he watched as his father nailed together components of the wood figures he carved. Magdaleno has improved upon this technique, carving the entire figure from a single piece of wood. Mother Earth is a constant source of inspiration for Magdaleno, whose imagination is influenced by the shape of each piece of wood he holds. His carving is about animals, and the necessity of taking care of nature lest we risk their extinction. “The piece has a jaguar, an eagle and a raccoon mounted on a tree branch; trees and their branches are a central element of nature.” Major influences on Magdaleno’s artwork were his parents, who are also folk artists. 


Oscar Fabián Melchor
[Honorable mention in woodcarving, FOFA’s 2016 contests]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #71.jpg

Pueblo of San Martin Tilcajete
Avenida Hidalgo #42

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9249
Cell: 011-52-1-951-233-4013
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9249
Landline to Cell: 044-951-233-4013
Cell to Cell: 951-233-4013 

The dragon is Oscar’s favorite animal, and in 2016 he chose to enter the first dragon he ever carved into FOFA’s young artists’ competition. He “saw” this dragon in the piece of wood he chose, and further refined his vision of its amazing tail by researching images on the internet. The dragon is painted in the colors of the earth to honor Oscar’s agricultural roots. Since most inhabitants of his pueblo no longer work the land, he wants his people to reconnect and take better care of the earth. The dragon reflects Oscar’s dreams, and he hopes this one is the first of many to emerge from his imagination. 


Raymundo Fabián Melchor [Winner in woodcarving, FOFA’s 2008 contest]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #73.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — woodcarving #74.jpg

Pueblo of San Martin Tilcajete
Avenida Hidalgo #42

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-424-9249
Cell: 011-52-1-951-524-9155
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 424-9249
Landline to Cell: 044-951-524-9155
Cell to Cell: 951-524-9155
 

Raymundo likes to imagine the past, when humans lived in harmony with nature. Through “Zapotec Warrior” he calls for greater protection for animals that are in danger of extinction, such as the eagle and the jaguar that represent vision and power in his Zapotec land. The configuration of the trunk dictated Raymundo’s artistic undertaking, as he envisioned the warrior protected by a shield decorated with Monte Albán filigree, a jaguar behind its foot, and an eagle in its hands. The piece is not painted because the artist prefers the power of natural wood.


The Fabián Ortega Family

 

Benito Fabián Ortega 
[Honorable mention in decorative painting of woodcarving, FOFA’s 2013 contest]

Pueblo of San Martin Tilcajete
Calle del Tanque s/n
benitofabian07@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9154
Cell: 011-52-1-951-193-4053
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9154
Landline to Cell: 044-951-193-4053
Cell to Cell: 951-193-4053

Enrique celebrates his roots by incorporating traditional Zapotec designs -- grecas and codices -- in an animal native to Oaxaca that symbolizes the soul of his land. He combines colors derived from natural substances (cochinilla, charcoal) with acrylic paints. Enrique began decoratively painting at age four and woodcarving at age six, carrying on the tradition of his parents, grandparents and others of his woodcarving pueblo, while eventually introducing new elements. In 2016 he and his brother Victor began creating texture by carving designs into a piece’s surface. Enrique’s believes that “to realize a dream one must first believe in it.” 


Enrique Fabián Ortega (Honorable mention in woodcarving, FOFA’s 2016 contest]

Pueblo of San Martin Tilcajete
Calle del Tanque s/n
veckfa7@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9154
Cell: 011-52-1-349-3406
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9154
Landline to Cell: 044-951-349-3406
Cell to Cell: 951-349-3406    

Enrique celebrates his roots by incorporating traditional Zapotec designs -- grecas and codices -- in an animal native to Oaxaca that symbolizes the soul of his land. He combines colors derived from natural substances (cochinilla, charcoal) with acrylic paints. Enrique began decoratively painting at age four and woodcarving at age six, carrying on the tradition of his parents, grandparents and others of his woodcarving pueblo, while eventually introducing new elements. In 2016 he and his brother Victor began creating texture by carving designs into a piece’s surface. Enrique’s believes that “to realize a dream one must first believe in it.” 


Victor Fabián Ortega
[Winner in decorative painting of woodcarving, FOFA’s 2013 contest; Honorable mention in woodcarving, FOFA’s 2013 contest]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #79.jpg

Pueblo of San Martin Tilcajete
Calle del Tanque s/n
veckfa7@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9154
Cell: 011-52-1-951-224-8778
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9154
Landline to Cell: 044-951-224-8778
Cell to Cell: 951-224-8778 

Victor, a member of this talented carving and painting family, teaches local children to observe nature from new perspectives. He uses the ancestral origins of their town -- the Zapotec word “Til” means “dye,” and his town name means ”wellspring of dyes” -- to inspire them to protect their roots. In his first place winning piece for the “Celebrating Mother Earth” theme of FOFA’s 2013 competition, Victor imagined combining a jaguar, representing nature, with a motorcycle, which one may use to journey to view the planet’s beauty. He explained that the unusual figure emerged from the wood as he carved it, and he painted it with natural dyes that he developed from plants. This is distinct from the typical custom in his pueblo of using acrylic paints. He also “rescues” aged, abandoned wood to bring it alive again with his carving, aided by natural dyes. 


Airin Viviana García [Honorable mention in woodcarving, FOFA’s 2016 contest] (wife of Benito)

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #82.jpg

Pueblo of San Martin Tilcajete
Calle del Tanque s/n
benitofabian07@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9154
Cell: 011-52-1-272-4387
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9154
Landline to Cell: 044-951-272-4387
Cell to Cell: 951-272-4387

California-born Airin returned to her father’s homeland of Oaxaca to work with her hands and her dreams in the land of her ancestors. Her Oaxacan husband Benito introduced Airin to woodcarving three years ago, following the birth of their first child. “We honor our Zapotec ancestors by working with this kind of wood” – old, dead wood which they find in the forest – “which is why we call the piece “Wooden Fossil.” The early carvers would have a vision and “pull it out of the wood…This wood is the means by which we connect our past with our present, taking it into the future with us.” 


Norberto Fabián Xuana [Honorable mention in woodcarving, FOFA’s 2008 contest]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #84.jpg

Pueblo of San Martín Tilcajete
Reforma #13
fabianxu@gmail.com

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-112-3050    
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell: 044-951-112-3050
Cell to Cell: 951-112-3050

 

Woodcarving is a tradition Norberto joined in as a 12-year-old after watching his grandparents make carts, ploughs and masks. He takes pride in the quality of his work and his positive attitude toward learning and teaching. Norberto participated in FOFA’s 2008 young artists’ contest, offering a peacock trying to catch a rabbit. The figure also has an iguana and a dog’s snout, which together form a single piece. For Norberto the peacock is a very special bird, one that deserves great respect because it is in danger of extinction. 


The Fuentes Family

Epifanio Fuentes, his wife Laurencia Santiago Hernández, and their three sons, Zeni, Efraín and Iván, two daughters, Magaly and Rubi Perla, and daughter-in-law Ángela Stephanie, are actively and productively at work, as are many of their grandchildren.

 

Fuentes/Santiago workshop
Epifanio Fuentes Vázquez & Laurencia Santiago Hernández

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #85.jpg

Pueblo of San Antonio Arrazola
Emiliano Zapata #16
claudiozapotec@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-517-1438
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 517-1438

Epifanio is one of the original and most successful carvers in San Martín.  He is best known for his charming, long-haired angels, and also for animals and human figures, such as Emiliano Zapata or a mother nursing a child. His wife, Laurencia, paints most of his pieces. Epifanio’s reputation in the United States is deeply important to him, both because it enhances his financial prospects and because of his deep satisfaction in teaching others about his work. Epifanio works in several types of wood, including copal, cedar and “zompantle.” He underlines the importance of environmental conservation, especially the replenishment of trees cut down by woodcarvers.


Magaly Fuentes Santiago (daughter of Epifanio and Laurencia) 
[Honorable mention in decorative painting of woodcarving, FOFA’s 2011, 2013 contests] 

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #88.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #89.jpg

San Antonio Arrazola
Emiliano Zapata #16
don_claux@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-517-1438
Cell: 011-52-1-951-221-8556
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 517-1438
Landline to Cell: 044-951-221-8556
Cell to Cell: 951-221-8556

Magaly feels she was destined to be a painter, tucked into her mother’s shawl as a small child watching her hands painting the family’s woodcarvings. She has developed a style different from her grandparents and parents, elaborating more detail and color than her elders. This can be seen in Magaly’s painting of this mythical Oaxacan nahual - part woman, part armadillo - carved by her brother Efraín. Its arms protect two corncobs symbolizing life, fertility, love, and nurture. Magaly’s complex design joyously celebrates fruits of the earth that must be carefully tended. She finely details many examples on land: corn, sheep, trees, flowers, watermelon, chilis, butterflies, cacti; and in water: tortoises, swans, fish, snails, and coral. 


Rubí Perla Fuentes Santiago (daughter of Epifanio and Laurencia)
[Honorable mention in decorative painting of woodcarving, FOFA’s 2008 contest]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #90.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #91.jpg

Pueblo of San Martín Tilcajete
Avenida Hidalgo #38

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9059
Cell: 011-52-1-951-171-9961
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9059
Landline to Cell: 044-951-171-9961
Cell to Cell: 951-171-9961

 

Rubí Perla’s “Lion” is the result of a collaboration with her husband, Efraín Broa Vergara, who did the carving. With talent and dexterity she decorated the piece, using tones of mustard and Indian red, as well as “hair” made from ixtle (a fiber that comes from the cactus) – a signature decorative element of her family. She painted her favorite animals, kittens, on the lion’s ears. Rubí pays a great deal of attention to achieving harmony between the paint colors and the fiber that forms the mane.


Ángela Stephanie Xilotl Cruz (wife of another son of Epifanio and Laurencia)
[Honorable mention in decorative painting of woodcarving, FOFA’s 2016 contest]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #92.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #93.jpg

Pueblo of San Martín
Avenida Hidalgo #38
betisfs@live.com.mx

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9059
Cell: 011-52-1-951-569-0120
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9059
Landline to Cell: 044-951-569-0120
Cell to Cell: 951-569-0120 

 

Ángela was taught painting by the woman who later became her grandmother-in-law, Laurencia Santiago Hernández, of the well-known Fuentes woodcarving family. “She has helped me to observe carefully – for instance, the way the feathers sit on the wing of a bird.“ On the owl’s wings Ángela portrays the Zapotec story of original love, in which the sun and the moon come together in the eclipse. She chose the nocturnal owl to represent wisdom and the diurnal armadillo -- capable of neutralizing a serpent’s venom – to symbolize a purifying force. “To learn how to paint I had to learn to let my imagination fly,” says Ángela. Her husband, José Alberto Fuentes Santiago, carved the piece.


Fuentes/Gómez workshop
Efraín Fuentes Santiago (son of Epifanio and Laurencia)
[Honorable mention in woodcarving, FOFA’s 2008 contest]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #94.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #95.jpg

Pueblo of San Martín Tilcajete
Avenida Oriente s/n
efrainfuentesartesanias@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9071
Cell: 011-52-1-951-157-2849
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9071
Landline to Cell: 044-951-157-2849
Cell to Cell: 951-157-2849

Efraín delights in his carved creations.  Cats are his favorites, although armadillos bearing their young run a close second, followed by mermaids. He is also known for his angels, witches and skeletons, and, in a recent departure from fantasy, historical figures. His inventive two-sided piece is entitled “Cuauhtémoc”, a Nahuatl word meaning eagle that falls, named for an important Aztec ruler who gave his life defending his people from the invading Spanish colonizers. The eagle, frequently seen in the fields of Efraín’s farming pueblo, has been one of his favorite animals since childhood.Efraín delights in his carved creations.  Cats are his favorites, although armadillos bearing their young run a close second, followed by mermaids. He is also known for his angels, witches and skeletons, and, in a recent departure from fantasy, historical figures. His inventive two-sided piece is entitled “Cuauhtémoc”, a Nahuatl word meaning eagle that falls, named for an important Aztec ruler who gave his life defending his people from the invading Spanish colonizers. The eagle, frequently seen in the fields of Efraín’s farming pueblo, has been one of his favorite animals since childhood.


Dulce Abril Fuentes Gómez (daughter of Efraín and granddaughter of Epifanio and Laurencia) 
[Winner in decorative painting of woodcarving, FOFA’s 2016 contest] 

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #96.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #97.jpg

Pueblo of San Martín Tilcajete
Avenida Oriente s/n
efrainfuentesartesanias@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9071
Cell: 011-52-1-951-157-2849
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9071
Landline to Cell: 044-951-157-2849
Cell to Cell: 951-157-2849

Dulce began painting at nine years of age, taught by her mother how important decorative painting is to the impact of a carved work of art. Dulce painted this piece – carved by her father Efraín Fuentes -- to express how much she values her Zapotec heritage. For example, the face of a Zapotecan person appears in the heart. Traditions arise from the seed. The skulls are one’s ancestors. She also included a variety of traditional dancers from the Guelaguetza dance festival -- the China Oaxaqueña, Zandunga, and Flor de Piña -- whose brilliant-colored costumes she loves. In addition to traditional themes, Dulce is fascinated by the marine animals she portrays in the veins of the heart. 


Iván Fuentes Santiago (son of Epifanio and Laurencia)

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #98.JPG
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #99.JPG

Pueblo of San Martín Tilcajete
Avenida Oriente #15
alebrijes_ivanfuentes@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9242
Cell: 011-52-1-951-231-7744
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9242
Landline to Cell: 044-951-231-7744
Cell to Cell: 951-231-7744

The youngest of the talented lineage of carvers in this family, Iván makes a host of animals with facility and dexterity, including giraffes, cats and coyotes.  He is partial to anteaters. Ivan does his own decorative painting, inspired by colors he visualizes. He began to carve at the age of seven, watching his parents and grandfather. His first pieces were armadillos and small animals. Later his brother Zeni, who creates striking animals, influenced him.


Fuentes/Piña workshop
Zeni Fuentes Santiago (son of Epifanio and Laurencia)

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #100.jpg
Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #101.jpg

Pueblo of San Martín Tilcajete
Carretera Federal (at the junction of Avenida Oriente)
zenyfuentes27@yahoo.com.mx

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9240
Cell: 011-52-1-951-111-5962
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9240
Landline to Cell: 044-951-111-5962
Cell to Cell: 951-111-5962

Zeni, Epifanio and Laurencia’s eldest son, is a talented carver whose favorite pieces are lions, armadillos and giraffes that he both carves and paints. The natural form of the wood dictates what he chooses to create.  Decorative painting is extremely important to him, an artistic endeavor in which his wife sometimes assists him.  Zeni has also developed a reputation as an instructor of woodcarving, especially for children. The combination of his talents, his commanding personality, and his proficiency in English have led to many invitations to cities in the United States.  In addition, an instructional video has been produced in the United States featuring his work.


 

Fátima Janice Fuentes Piña (daughter of Zeni and granddaughter of Epifanio and Laurencia) 
[Honorable mention in decorative painting of woodcarving, FOFA’s 2013, 2016 contests]

Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art — Woodcarving #103.jpg

Pueblo of San Martín Tilcajete
Carretera a Pto. Angel Km 23.5 s/n
fatimafuentesjp@gmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9240
Cell: 011-52-1-951-240-2066
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9240
Landline to Cell: 044-951-240-2066
Cell to Cell: 951-240-2066 

Fátima is the fifth generation of the Fuentes woodcarving family, taught by her mother to decoratively paint the sculptures carved by her father Zeni. She chose to paint the coyote, her spiritual symbol of strength and wisdom that embodies her family, culture, and the roots of her art. In this powerful carving, her great grandfather and grandfather are represented by the coyotes decorated in aniline paint, her father by a coyote with painted fur and a bird on its brow, her maternal grandmother by the use of dots, and her mother by the unifying colors of nature. Fátima represents herself with the two coyotes on top that symbolize the sun and moon, which she calls the origins of her dreams. 


Laura Michelle Fuentes Piña (daughter of Zeni and granddaughter of Epifanio and Laurencia) 
[Honorable mention in decorative painting of woodcarving, FOFA’s 2013, 2016 contests]

Pueblo of San Martín Tilcajete
Carretera a Pto. Angel Km 23.5 s/n
michellefuentes19@gmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-524-9240
Cell: 011-52-1-951-229-1397
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 524-9240
Landline to Cell: 044-951-229-1397
Cell to Cell: 951-229-1397
 

Growing up in a family of artists, Laura Michelle has experienced her parents’ pride in her work, including their wish that she follow her own path. She is pleased to participate in their effort to reforest copal trees, believing it is important to replace the raw material they use for their art. Laura Michelle is fascinated by the purity that exists in nature. In the elaborate and varied painting of this saber tooth tiger – carved by her father Zeni Fuentes -- she offers a tour of her different painting techniques illustrating animals and nature that is intertwined with phrases guiding her life. “I paint today, because tomorrow…who knows?” “I sow seeds today so that I harvest tomorrow.” “We live but one life, so live it well.” Laura believes that her soul is rooted in the earth, represented here by the female figure on the tiger’s rear legs, and that her dreams come to life in the images of animals.