62… Working in wood is a long standing Alamos tradition …

Martin Rosas in family workshop, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Martin Rosas at work at his families' Carpenteria Rosas.

Martin Servando Rosas was a busy man on a mission. He taught carpentry at the elementary- junior high school. He managed the well-laid-out Carpenteria Rosas, off of Calle Galeana, where his brothers Germain and Carlos worked. Martin was involved with the “Hands across the Border” program which took 20 to 40 kids north for two to four days and a Discovery tour program that involved ten adults at a time. He was running a business, hand crafting wood and sharing his experience-skills with the next generations. Martin expressed his faith in Mexico’s future through his strong belief of the necessary good community service provided. As I was leaving Carpenteria Rosas I turned back and saw Martin focused on a project at hand, there was a production schedule to be met.

Ramon Nicholas Figueroa Castro with one of his carved doors, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

To have a wood door built and carved by Ramon Figueroa was a big deal.

Ramon Nicholas Figueroa Castro was one of the most respected artists-craftsmen in Alamos. Members of the North American community spoke of him in hushed tones reserved for masters and maestros. Any visitor that asked about local creative talent would learn about Ramon and his growing reputation outside of Alamos. Many locals recognized a Ramon carved door as a collectable piece of art, hard to come by for a variety of reasons: he works slow, he is busy with a growing client waiting list, needed materials were hard to find, he is expensive because of his rising profile and, or… If one managed to purchase a Ramon it became the opening to countless conversations.

The Ramon I met was quiet spoken with a soft smile and simple gestures. It seemed he did what he did because it was what he did, there was a simplicity to his movement. Everything else surrounding his work was what other people did because it was what they did. Ramon hoped they would pay him what they had agreed to pay him and he would be left to his work, after-all, it is what he does.

Figueroa brothers, master wood workers, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Ramon together with his wood working brothers at their shop.

The brothers Figueroa all worked with wood on their family property on Calle de las Delicias.
Manuel, Emir Yonolan, Wilson, Paul, David and Ramon, not in the other of the above photo, shared a sprawling work space both open air and under roof. There were few walls: nature came in and their wood creations went out. Trees provided shade for craftsmen making tables, chairs, windows, doors… On this day Ramon was finishing a beautiful bureau. Its elegant turnings and graceful details stood out in sharp contrast to the dirt floor.

Art and music is a family thing in Alamos. Many of those around the Figueroa brothers probably will work in wood themselves. The creative skills are past down from father to son, mother to daughter, uncles and aunts to nephews and nieces. As an example, the Quartet de Alamos performed at Casa de los Tesoros for as long as I had known Alamos. On my last visit the bass player’s son was playing bass for Estudiantina de Alamos. I could imagine the son replacing his father in the Quartet, or playing in his own band, someday, somewhere in Alamos or…