Oaxaca is one of the poorest states in Mexico. The co-founder of Puech Ikots, Carlos Orozco, is a Oaxacan Huave who created this project in order to provide opportunities to artisans and artists in pueblos found in various areas of the state of Oaxaca. For the most part, the artists taking part in this project live far from the state capital, Oaxaca de Juarez, and cannot access the tourist market there.
For many of these people, their art is the only source of income, and what they earn is barely enough to provide basic necessities.The goal of Puech Ikots is to help these individuals find a market for their crafts and enable them to earn a fair living through their art. The project also hopes to foster economic autonomy to Oaxacan indigenous communities in general, as well as share the beauty of the Oaxacan culture with people around the world.
All the art shown on this site is purchased directly from the artists listed and is then sent to the United States. All artists involved in this project determine the prices for their creations themselves. The profits from this venture are channeled back into the communities in order to allow the artisans to purchase better-quality materials with which to pursue their artistic endeavors.
Creating alebrijes begins with copal wood from the warm, tropical regions of Oaxaca. Many of the artisans featured here travel for days from their pueblos to warmer parts of Oaxaca to personally harvest the copal for their artwork. The smaller pieces take at least a week to hand carve. After carving, the alebrije must be placed in the sun to dry out for at least 2 weeks; when the alebrije is fully dried out, it is sanded and prepared for painting.
Traditionally, the men of the community do the carving of the Alebrijes, and the women do the painting. From the initial carving to the final painting, the process of creating an alebrije can take 6 weeks or more.