Graciela Díaz Perez y Carlos Mario Nuricumbo Dias, Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas
Chiapas lacquer is the only lacquer in Mexico, which uses 100% of "laca" or "aje", an insect that is a type of cochineal. The insect grows on the roots of plum trees and other tropical trees in the Flores Magón area. Only a few families still harvest the insects and process them for use in the production of lacquer. The resulting product of the processed insects is a paste that looks like a greasy soap. Lacquer artisans obtain "caliche" earth, a type of stone, from around Tuxtla Gutierrez, remove impurities from the stone by washing, sifting and drying it before grinding it into a fine powder that is mixed with pigments.
The original objects for the lacquering process were the gourds used as vessels, although now other objects such as crosses, trays, furniture, etc. are also lacquered. The objects to be lacquered, once received from the carpenters the objects are smoothed and sanded by the artisans and then, they apply by hand the aje paste and then the caliche powder with pigments and this process is repeated between three to seven times or more depending on the type of finish desired. Once, through this process of applying and rubbing the object until the object is well lacquered, then the object is ready to be decorated. The artisan then paints the object with the chosen design with his fingers, with small brushes for painting or brushes made with cat hair that carefully collect the cat hairs without harming them in any way.
Graciela Diaz Perez and her husband, Florencio, are both lacquer artists. As a child she learned her art from her mother and aunt and has won many state and national competitions. Her most recent award was in October 2011 at the Fray Bartolomé competition in Chiapa de Corzo, where she won first place for a beautiful batea (tray) she designed and lacquered.
Carlos is Graciela's 16 year old son. He won First Place in the Chiapa de Corzo Contest (art exhibit) in 2019 for his entry of a chest. He also won an Honorable Mention for a bule (gourd) in the 2018 Contest.
Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas,
961 153 0055, 961 169 87980 (cell)