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Higinio Hernandez Carrillo

Artisan Organization: Higinio Hernandez Carrillo

Country: Mexico

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"My family comes from the beautiful Huichol tradition in the north of Jalisco. You could say that art runs through my veins. I grew up knowing about beads and the beautiful combinations that I saw in the hands of family members.

"My mother left my side when I was a child. It was difficult learning to be alone. But my village was a principal part of my education. I learned in the Huichol Center. That's where many Huichol people met to work for a person from the United States. After three months, I left and began to work for myself. It was difficult, but I already knew the city, because I went to Zacatecas when I was 11 due to problems with my stepmother. I lived with a good family.

"It isn't easy bringing bread to the table with handicrafts that are so prevalent in an area where almost everyone does the same thing. I have six children who depend on the hard work of their parents. For me, giving them a good education is a priority.

"Along the way, I met you, and you gave me the opportunity to learn other ways of making and selling my work. I never imagined that I would be exporting my beadwork to other countries, and that my work would end up in places I didn't even know about.

"That was when I was presented with an important challenge regarding quality. I had to get better and showcase quality designs that I could create on a daily basis. More than anything, I needed to make something that reflected the art that runs in my veins.

"As life will, it presents us with tough challenges that prevent you from achieving more than you want. In my case, I experienced health complications that taught me the importance of taking care of myself, and of carrying on despite the things that surround me. Today, my children want to learn what their dad does. They want to make this art a part of their lives.

Original Artisan Story

The artistry of the Cosio Carrillo family has been featured in periodicals ranging from Business Week to The New York Times.

"Hello! I was born in the Jalisco mountains. I have followed my family tradition of making beaded artwork, but I like using bright colors in my designs. My works are different from the traditional beadwork from my homeland, and I use contrasting colors on spherical and oval-shaped figures.

"I make my masks over papier-mâché figures and my wife and I place the beads one-by-one on an adhesive coating of beeswax. The designs are completely improvised and are inspired by our reflections and feelings at the moment that we're making the pieces.

"I'd spent several months trying to sell my works in local markets but, with you, I finally found a way to let the world to see my work. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I enjoy making them. I hope that, through them, you will get a better understanding of the magic and meaning of the Huichol culture."

The figures receive a coat of beeswax; it serves as an adhesive upon which Higinio Hernandez Carrillo patiently applies strands of yarn or tiny chaquira beads, using a needle to place each one with precision.

Do not expose these pieces to direct heat or light, as it could soften the wax adhesive and thus loosen the yarn or beads."