One of the most far-reaching exhibits of New Mexico animal wood carvings, “Wooden Menagerie: Made in New Mexico,” debuts at the Museum of International Folk Art on April 6 with 107 artworks made by such masters as Felipe Archuleta, Patrociñio Barela, and José Dolores López. The exhibition runs through Feb. 15, 2015.
The artworks range from narrative-to-abstracted in style, and include birds, reptiles, fish, cattle, an alligator that is almost smiling and a whimsical blue deer. These mixed-media carvings were created from elm and cottonwood along with glass marbles, leftover yellow paint from painting highway lines (utilized by Archuleta for a cheetah), broom bristles, dog hair (it is said that Archuleta would befriend stray dogs if he needed hair for, perhaps, a bear carving), rope, metal, leather, nails, sawdust and wood shavings.
Animal woodcarving is a Hispano tradition going back to the 1700s in New Mexico.