Throughout your visit you will see carved statues, masks, or furniture. All these pieces are hand chiseled from a larger piece of wood to take its artist’s vision form. The correct pieces of wood are chosen for their grain, softness, color and size.
The process of acquiring the raw materials for larger pieces is more challenging than the smaller pieces because finding quality trees with the correct specifications is difficult. Even if the correct piece is chosen the artist encounters differing wood textures or hardness throughout the pieces as the wood is an anisotropic material. To circumvent this issue artist have to create larger works from different pieces of wood by laminating or attaching as parts to form the required size.
You can appreciate this by the observing the differing color of wood or grain in the piece. However, a stain or varnish helps hide this work process. The smaller pieces, like the alebrijes, are usually hand painted after they are carved and the wood usually originates from smaller fallen branches from the artist’s backyard or surroundings.
The actual chiseling or cutting of the wood to make the figure can be a time consuming process. The wood bark is first taken out and sometimes is used in other works. Then the raw wood is carefully inspected for flaws and hardness. When the piece is just right then the artist begins to make the form to his or her vision. Any mistakes can be rectified up to the point where the raw material is still present to make the correction .
Finally the artist after weeks or months carving out the form can then attach the corresponding parts (if made with different pieces). The artist can then decide to stain, varnish, or paint it. If the artist decides to paint the piece then it involves more planning with the color and complexity of the design. They are truly works of art!