How one Mexican ornament maker spreads love during the holidays.

Heart of the Matter

Alebrije sculpture
Five Painted Mini Ornaments, “Alebrije Hearts”

The rules are ancient, rooted in tradition. The wood must be cut only on the full moon.

Claudio Ojeda, who learned the art from his mother in Oaxaca, is nothing if not steeped in tradition. And yet, his best-selling heart-shaped ornament feels modern and vibrant.

Wood Carver, Claudio Ojeda
By look and feel and a series of different sized blades, Claudio carves and smooths the wood into the shape of a heart. With meticulous care, he shaves off the excess until he is left with the exact object he wants.

He then passes the heart to his mother who hand-paints each ornament until it is alive with bright, vivid colors in the style of alebrije art. It is a wonder to watch her bring to life a simple wooden heart with a brush as fine and delicate as a strand of hair.

Alebrije sculpture
Armadillo, Unicorn Ornaments and Monkey

This season, add a touch of joy to the tree with a gorgeous heart-shaped ornament made with love, tradition, and family.


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