“I am María Guillermina Rivera Fernandez. I was born in Dos de Cabeceras de Cañas in the Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica, in 1957. My childhood was filled with shortcomings and needs, since we were 9 siblings and we grew up with my grandparents. I had a neighbor who was dedicated to crafts, and from her I learned many techniques. She instilled in me that spirit of creating and designing different things, and she inspired me to learn new things every day to help my family improve.
“My inclination in wood carving came because on my farm I observed many birds, and it occurred to me to draw and carve them on boards, and to give them different colors with paint. On our farm I can choose between many trees for the best raw material. To learn this art, I found out where I could find teachers with dedication and commitment, and that is how I acquired better knowledge. I have also shared my knowledge with other people. I am always inspired by birds and their beautiful songs for my creations, especially the yiguirro, the national bird of Costa Rica.
“I received training in the area where I live in 2018, and in that training we were encouraged to create an enterprise with an identity. That's where my idea to create my little birds and start marketing them arose. Since that same year I have dedicated myself to carving my handicrafts in wood and it is my own business from my home. My first craft was a desk accessory that consisted of a wooden base and a hand-carved bird whose main function is to organize paper clips; it was a request from one of my teachers, and I sold it to him.
“For my creations I use wood that I obtain from my farm, paintings that I buy in trimmings. What I like the most is the finishing and giving the appearance to each of my pieces. The most challenging part is carving the little birds to give them shape.
I work with my family; my husband and I select the tree for the wood, we cut it and take it to dry, and I cut and carve the pieces. My daughter and my husband sand them, and thus we divide each process to work as a team.
“The most difficult moment in my life was when I was young; I was the victim of domestic violence by my romantic partner. Thanks to several courses I took, I had the strength to get out of the circle of violence and was able to say ‘never again’. I never give up in the face of adversity. I am a humble and honest person who looks after the needs of others.
“Establishing myself as an artisan has not been easy, and there have been many stumbles along the way. You have to believe in yourself and have confidence. I can improve and move towards a better future, with the help of God. My products are of good quality, because every day I strive to improve them. I am grateful for the opportunity you are giving me to make myself known as an artisan internationall