Juan Alonso has spent the last 47 years making Molinillo with more and more complex details. From small cup size lengths to the stunning 3 and 4 foot pieces, his work is exceptional. In addition to Molinillo, he has worked with one of Mexico’s finest designers, Carla Fernandez, making bracelets, necklaces and handbag handles with his special technique. He participated in an exhibition at the Stewart Garden Museum in Boston with Carla and has pieces in the Toluca Museum of Popular Culture.
Juan Alonso Rodriguez works with his two sons in their workshop attached to their home a small town in Mexico State. While Juan Alonso is highly regarded throughout the art world in Mexico, his sons have only recently learned his craft. Estaban, who is 38, has been making Molinillos for 3 years and is now working full time with his father. His younger brother, Luis Alberto, 24, has been working with them for 18 months. He studied Fine Arts at the University in Toluca and, as with his brother, has a fine eye for these highly-decorated pieces.
Anselmo Gonzalez Gardino was born in Santa Mario Rayon in Mexico State. He learned the art of Molinillo from his uncles. He has been making Molinillo for 37 years, starting with simple designs and gradually adding skills. He works with his wife, Norma Ulloa to whom he been married for 31 years, and together they create beautiful pieces.
This last year, his designs were incorporated into the legs for dining tables, which were exhibited in Germany. The wood used for these is from the Wild Tamarind or Tzalam, a very dense wood that give off oils that make the eyes run. The many orders for the tables from this exhibition will cause him lots of tears!
Verve Culture is funding an apprentice to work with Anselmo so that he can teach his craft and complicated designs. The artistic expression and execution is so beautiful, it must be passed down to young dedicated artists as it was passed down to him.