Mario López Torres (Deceased), Ihuatzio, Michoacán
Mario was born and raised in Mexico City. As a young boy he always dreamed of being in the country with trees all around. As a child having problems in school, it was soon discovered that he was dyslexic and so he was encouraged to work with his hands and thus began his life as an artist.
As a young man, his desire to learn his craft brought him to Michoacán where he studied with James Metcalf & Ana Pellicer that taught him how to work in iron, and eventually in the wonderful weave that originated in the Philippines. These handcrafts are made of a natural fiber (bullrush), called Chuspata, and it’s a variety of bullrush indigenous to Mexico. This is collected by the lake shore, and then webbed into baskets, purses, dolls and other figures representing images of their daily life.
Mario lived in Michoacán among the trees, next to the Lake and living his dreams with his wife and children. His work was unique and highly prized and sought after. He worked with his wife, putting their special stamp on crafts, fitting iron structures into furniture or animals made out of a reed grass that grows on the shores of Lake Pátzcuaro and that the local artisans use for a number of different things.
From time immemorial, the artisans of the Lake Pátzcuaro region have made diverse objects from chuspata. At first, they only produced bedrolls, the use of which continues to this day among indigenous peoples. Chuspata production generally takes place in family workshops with materials obtained directly from the lakeshore. These objects reveal a great deal of creativity.
Their creations which are showcased in the workshop and gallery “Tzumindi” are already world famous. Although many of their creations have a "modern" theme, the art of using chuspata is a handcraft that has been used for decades in Mexico. This is truly folk art at its best with a creative vision into the future.