Updated: Feb 23, 2020
The fanciful, colorful carved figures in our store are created in the Oaxaca, Mexico region, using Mixtec and Zapotec iconography. They and are known locally as "tonas" and "nahuales" but generally referred to as “Alebrijes.”
Made from locally-sourced copal wood, and painted with natural dyes, these unique pieces are made by artisan families with great care. The Zapotec families we work with create some of the region’s finest decorated wooden Alebrijes and often visit our Berkeley store to demonstrate their art while “in residence,” explaining and demonstrating their craft and talking with visitors.
Artisans we feature, Saul and Alma Aragón, Jesus Sosa, and occasionally Jacobo and Maria Angeles, are all celebrated Zapotec artists and ecological pioneers. Many have won worldwide recognition for their leadership in the sustainable harvesting of copal trees and the high caliber of their work. Each year Oaxacan towns like San Martin Tilcajete and Arrazola make pilgrimages into the forest to replant the slow-growing copal.
To know when these artists are visiting Talavera simply sign up for our email list.