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On the side of a mountain overlooking the village of Capula, Michoacán, the de la Cruz family resides in a warm adobe home surrounded by a courtyard, fruit trees and flowers and the all-important taller and horno (workshop and oven) from where the greatest Catrina clay art in Mexico emerges.
Alvaro de la Cruz is the maestro who has taught his children well, each working in the Catrina form, and each in their own distinctive style. It is Carlos who has taken the direction of creating 8-10" tall, delicately slender divas, en calavera.
Carlos began making catrinas at the age of 10. His customers demanded smaller and more delicate work, and now the most fragile of catrinas made are his specialty.
At 24 years old, Carlos is recognized as one of the most collectable clay catrina artists along with his brothers and father, Alvaro de la Cruz. In November 2001, he won first place for his catrina in the highly competitive Concurso (juried show) at Day of the Dead in Pátzcuaro. In 2002, he garnered prizes at both the Capula Concurso and the Morelia Concurso no small feat.
His work is so delicate, so slender, that one marvels that these fabulous ladies with attitude are actually made of clay and yet they indeed are.
By Debra Hall