Inspirations: Oaxacan Wood-Carvings

The Oaxacans believe that humans become animal spirits at night. If you were to become an animal spirit, which animal do you think you’d become?

Oaxacan Woodcarving is a beautiful craft that originated in Oaxaca Valley, Mexico. It is a highly unique type of carving, not just for the fun forms that the Oaxacan carvers use, but also for the vibrant paints and patterns that go into the final product. There are only two hundred or so families that produce the “original” craft. For an in-depth history, please purchase Shepard Barbash’s Oaxacan Woodcarving: The Magic in the Trees. You can buy it on Amazon relatively cheap. Of course, a simple image search on Google will turn up an astounding number of images as well, since Oaxaca’s craft has exploded in popularity since I was a little girl.

I first discovered Oaxacan woodcarving from that book, actually. It was a present from my dad. Though I didn’t have an actual sculpture at the time, I was fascinated by them. I wanted to learn how to carve like that- how to paint like that. Maybe some day! In the meantime, I’ll have to make do with my private collection.

Some of mine: