"It is a great satisfaction to share my father's legacy here with you today.""My name is Francisco Mendoza, but my friends call me Chico. I was born to a hard-working family some time during the 1970s — I always forget the exact year. As a child, I watched my father make wooden furniture and I saw how he designed pretty things like flowers, animals and geometric motifs. I spent hours watching my father work.
"When I was older, my father began lending me his tools so that I'd learn and sometimes I'd take them to play pranks, but I was always interested in learning. At 16, I could already make furniture and carvings. I thought I'd try to sell them and was lucky to find a client who quickly ordered in bulk. I couldn't believe I was earning money with the art I learned from my father.
“After that, I thought about selling my creations in other locations, away from home. I began taking my designs to nearby towns on market days and setting up a stall with my furniture. It went well since I always came home with no furniture left and money. I'd work some more to have designs ready for the next market day. I gained good clients who began to order a lot of items. Then, I stopped going to the markets to sell because I had so much to do in the workshop.
"I got married and had three sons, two of whom are interested in my art and are learning very quickly. I taught my oldest son and he now teaches his younger brother. We all work together and help one another.
"My dad retired, but we kept the lessons of the work he taught us. This art has given us a home, has put food on the table and has let us give my sons an education. Moreover, wordworking has given us the satisfaction of making an honorable living while doing what we love.
"Sadly, my father passed away while I was creating my first Novica collection. I owe so much to him! It is a great satisfaction to share his legacy here with you today."