Alebrijes (al-ae-bree-haze) are the fantastical carved and painted wooden figures that are a central part of contemporary Mexican folk art.

Making ecoalebrijes is a family affair. EcoAlebrijes are the alebrijes made by the families of the EcoAlebrijes Association in Arrazola, a small pueblo in the southern state of Oaxaca.

The art of the alebrije has roots in the ancient Zapotec tradition of paper mache masks. Alebrijes have been made in Arrazola and a few other small Oaxacan communities for over 40 years.

The alebrijes of the EcoAlebrijes Association are the product of “the tree, hands, and imagination of Arrazola”. Each figure is carved from a branch of the copal tree. The soft wood of this tree, native to the area, is perfect for detailed carving. The EcoAlebrije artist studies the branch until he sees a shape or form emerging from the wood. From their commitment to conservation, EcoAlebrije artisans strive to use all of the wood that is cut from the tree. As a result, a single branch may yield more than one alebrije.


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