Javier Hernández López,
Paraje Yaalboc, Chiapas
Paraje Yaalboc is a Tzotzil village high above San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, where the mountains are covered with oak and pine trees and small communities are dedicated to the manufacture of wooden games and toys. Being close to San Cristóbal, it seems like an isolated world in the clouds with views towards San Cristóbal, Chamula and Chenalhó.
Javier Hernández Lopez was born in Yaalboc like his father and grandfather and dedicates himself to his art with the help of his family and other workers. His workshop is stocked with all the tools he needs and he is a meticulous man, who proudly takes great care of the toys he and his family make. On the perfectly organized shelves, you can see trucks, trains, birds, jaguars and all kinds of wonderful surprises for the children.
For 31 years he worked for the town cooperative, but when it closed in 2010 he bought the tools and continued his trade independently. In the 1970's, a visiting German toy manufacturer assisted the co-op by teaching them new designs and simplifying processes. These high quality, antique toy designs are loved by children because of the brightly colored animals and articulated characters. Javier's wife is dedicated to making small indigenous men and women created from corn husks. These little men and women are used in the Ferris wheel and in the rustic créche.
Javier has won several competitions at the state level and his toys can be found at the Instituto de la Casa de Artesanías de Chiapas in Tuxtla. As the institute is a bit out of the way, it is recommended that you make an appointment if you wish to visit.
If you want to drive to Yaalboc from the Periferico Norte, you will take the road to Santa Cruz at the mosque and drive eight kilometers to Yaalboc. When you get to Yaalboc ask for Javier Antun the toy maker.
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas
Cell 967 672 0101