Jose Alberto Najera
Traditional Mexican Olinala lacquer ware in Mexico
"Olinala art takes time and dedication as well as an enormous perseverance. But only in this way can one be able to depict the illusions of the mind.""I personally enjoy challenges, and my work is an example of this. I craft decorative pinewood boxes and chests, which I paint by hand in the traditional style of Olinala, Guerrero.
"I learned from my parents, who still work at preserving this regional art form. As my own sensitivity developed and I shared this art with others, I realized I was transmitting happiness or a moment of peace.
"Olinala art takes time and dedication as well as an enormous perseverance. But only in this way can one be able to depict the illusions of the mind.
"The freedom to design, to create and capture images that reflect me and my culture, this is something about my work that fills me with passion.
"Each of my designs is inspired by my precious family, by my cultural roots, and by the importance of all of our work for our country, Mexico.
"I always seek innovation and authenticity in each of my designs, an originality that lets me see unique details in all of them. This lets me see beyond myself and continue toward perfection.
"I want to teach my son this art and the enormous satisfaction it permits us as thinking, feeling creatures. I hope to travel throughout Mexico sharing this vision of doing what we love most. I think this conveys hope to others and encourages others to be the best they can be."
The legendary lacquer ware art of Olinala is totally crafted by hand of fragrant linaloe, or Indian lavender wood. The black background comes from a solution made from oak ashes ground with stone and linseed oil. It takes the piece up to 15 days to dry; then it's ready to paint. To be sure the colors take to the wood, it is rubbed with a tolte stone which is toasted on a griddle then ground and mixed with linseed oil.
The images are painted by hand and the "etched" designs are created with acacia thorns. Olinala lacquer ware features three distinct styles, dorado or golden, rayado (etched), and punteado (pointillism). Each has its own characteristic procedures yet the materials are essentially the same.