hibiscus Traditions

My ancestors gave my family the traditions and gift of devotion to the saints, heavenly intercessors for humans. An old dicho or saying from New Mexico states, "A cada santo se llega su funcion"--there is a saint for each day. Consequently, we believe there is a saint for all needs or situations. The saints I make--both retablos (panel paintings) and bultos (statues) are made in the 18th century colonial tradition.  Retablos are painted on hand adzed pine panels coated with homemade gypsum.  The panels are painted with homemade water-based colors derived from plant dyes, mineral and clay pigments, and insect dyes.  A homemade pinon sap varnish seals the colors.  A final coat of natural beeswax seals the finished painting. The same procedure is executed for the carved wooden statues known as "bultos."  These bultos are typically carved from cottonwood root.  I prefer "jelutung" an Indonsian wood that is stable. My retablos reflect the traditions of the great master santeros (saintmakers) of colonial New Mexico, including Bernardo Miera y Pacheco, the Laguna Santero, Molleno, Jose Aragon, Jose Rafael Aragon, Jose Manuel Benavides. For the past four years, I have made "Saints on Wheels"--contemporary expressions of saints depicted in classic cars and vintage trucks.  I can tell the stories of the saints in a fun way!

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