Meet the Artisan

Florencia Espinal Ramirez

Florencia Espinal Ramirez was born on February 3rd of 1972 in Santa Cruz, a small town in the state of Guerrero. She decided to move to Olinala, Guerrero when she was just 11 years old. She took that decision driven by her desire of going to Junior High (Due to the fact that her hometown had no schools), it was then when she began to work as an artisan to support her studies and living, also that was the time when she first met her now husband Vicente Castillo Dionicio.

When they got married they decided to start running their own workshop and since then she has dedicated her life to the beautiful art of artesanias (Mexican traditional art crafts).

She has been living in Olinala for the past 34 years, and with her husband and 3 kids, she has been able to thrive and develop the artesanias as a family workshop, giving to it the quality and uniqueness that distinguish them.

She has participated in both national and regional competitions, being awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Currently, she sells her artesanias due to the quality and excellence of her work in important places such, Banamex Cultural Development, National Institute of Anthropologie and History, and in the Museum of Popular Art (MAP), where she is recognized in their artist's book. She has participated as well in several standing social events and artisan awards.

The artesania that they elaborate is made out of Linaloe trees, this kind of wood is recognized by its unique fragrance. The foundation of the paint comes from a regional rock called "toltec" a Nahuatl name. The toltec is mixed with other natural colorants to create the characteristic bright colors of the artesanias. In order to paste this natural pigments to the wood, they use chia seed oil mixed with a rock called tecoxtle to create a blend, right after they add a layer of dust of the color that is required and polished with a smooth stone, better known as quartz. This process is called bruñir. Shortly after finishing the first coat or foundation they let it air-dry for 2 weeks. Once dry, they proceed to add another layer of the same mixture and in this coat they draw the desired design, then they add more pigmented dust until reaching paint consistency removing the leftovers of the figures to display the formed shape, this particular technique is called rayado vaciado. To finish the rayado they scratch with cotton to polish the creation, this process is called "dar lustre" (To polish or give gloss).

In Olinala, Guerrero they usually use three techniques, one of them is the before mention, known as rayado vaciado, other of the techniques is the rayado punteado, in which they to color dots on the piece, this dots are created with turkey feathers one by one. The last technique is recognized for the brush decoration of color flowers, where they use turkey feathers with cat hair and artificial colors mixed with sisa (a dark blend created out of linseed oil, burning tecoxtle and garlic) this particular technique is called "Dorado" (Golden).

Florencia Espinal Ramirez collection

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