Headline, May 15 2022/ MEXICO : ''' '' STONE CARVERS STORY '' '''



THE STONE CARVERS OF THE WORLD STUDENTS SOCIETY : When the history of the last decade and a half is written, many, many in the world will remember the FOUNDER FRAMERS as '' stone carvers. ''

IT IS THE GREATEST OF HONOURS to endow ''The New York Times'' - a lifelong member of The World Students Society, with the responsibility of archiving all relevance, struggles, and performances for future Mankind.

THE WORLD THROUGH A LENS : The stone carvers of Escolasticas. 

Astoundingly, few people in the world know this place exists.

The small town of Escolasticas, built on ancient volcanic stone, carves a ragged path through a high hillside in Central Mexico. Three hours northwest of Mexico City. this community of 3,000 people is surrounded by razor sharp cactuses, like the nopal, and sun-scorched desert trees, like the palo dulce.

Travellers could easily pass through the place without noticing more than its potholes and weathered storefronts.

On closer inspection, there's much more to see.

THERE ARE perhaps 200 stone-carving workshops in Escolasticas, all small and open air. Around 300 of the local men work in these shops as artisan stone carvers and referred to their finished work as ''cantera,'' a word derived from the Spanish word for ''quarry''.

[ '' Cantera '' is also a generic term for a type of stone used in hand-carved columns, moldings and other architectural features.]

The artisans in Escolasticas are heirs to a tradition of stone carving that extends back several millennia.

Some 3,000 years ago, sculptors working among the Olmecs - widely regarded as the first elaborate pre-Columbian civilization in Mesoamerica - mastered the art of carving the human form.

More than 2,000 years later, the Aztecs were producing large stone sculptures that often borrowed from Olmec designs.

That sense of shared inspiration continues to this day.

I first visited Escolasticas in January 2020, while searching with friends for story ideas about compelling and overlooked subjects.

I had never seen an industrial landscape so consumed with small workshops - along with chunks of volcanic stone, cantera sculptures, clouds of dust and a high desert sun that seemed to scream more than it shined.

ONE HUNDRED years ago, haciendas and churches in the area needed stone cut for walls, steps and tile. Locals figured out how to do it, and slowly the quality of the art began to evolve.

Today, you can buy carvings directly from artists, and the cantera from Escolasticas is exported all over Mexico and the United States.

Unaided by computers and other modern technologies, carvers draw a basic shape on the stone and then bring that shape to life using electric grinding tools, hammers and chisels and, finally, sandpaper.

They eyeball a chunk of the volcanic rock, remove what they do not need and carve animals, archangels, fountains, fireplace facades, and other almost countless designs.

When I asked Jose Francisco Maldonado what he could make, he replied : '' I can make anything, senor. What would you like today?''

Stone carving is the dominant profession in Escolasticas. Even children will pick up a small hammer and strike it to a stone.Older mentors teach younger students to carve, and so the tradition continues.

Many of the carvers, I am told, die young from breathing the stone dust. Hardly any sign or identify their art. In a way, anonymity is an inherited and accepted fate.

Aaron Camargo Evangelista, 29, lives in a red brick, two-room shack, just beside the road through town. He could throw a feather from his pillow and hit the trucks that drive by in the night. When Margo, my interpreter, and I first met him, he was standing next to the road carving a stunningly detailed nine-foot-tall raven.

I asked if he had considered showing his work on Facebook or Instagram.

''I am not intelligent enough,'' he said, as if his sculpture weren't proof of an astounding intellect.

Ruben Ortega Alegria, 50, said he finds inspiration in the drawings of  Michelangelo. His 10-year-old-son, Jose Juan Ortega Contreras, also wants to carve.

During one of my visits, Jose walked to his father's open-air workshop after school to watch and learn. His father picked a moment to guide his son's hands over the stone, so he could feel the life inside.

''You need to touch it and feel it move,'' he explained. '' You need to know it before you can carve it.''

Alejandro Camarago is a master carver. An accident he suffered at the age of 17 left him unable to perform other heavy work, and so he turned to carving. Now 60, he relies on his sons to help him move the heavy stone, which he brings to life. He is referred to by the other local sculptures as ''Maestro''.

I asked if he talks to the stone. ''Of course", he said. ''I ask the stone, 'What do you want to be?' And the stone speaks to me. We are friends. I listen to the stone.''

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Great Unknown Artists, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Wlater Hodges.

With respectful dedication to these great Maestro Artists, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the World. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society -for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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