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Rocks and reeds transformed into art: Two talented artisans tell their stories

YouTube video blogger Luigi Medina is dangerous. Watch one of his videos about interesting sites in the “Magic Circle” around Guadalajara and suddenly you find yourself possessed by a mysterious force that makes you climb into your car—and off you go!

pg7aI thought I knew about all the artisans hidden away in the little towns surrounding Lake Cajititlán—located 25 kilometers due south of Guadalajara—but Medina’s video blog introduced me to two more creative souls I couldn’t resist visiting.

The first, a sculptor of basalt rock named Juan Pérez, is an amazingly talented artist whose workshop, Taller El Camichín, can be found just outside San Juan Evangelista, along the south shore of Lake Cajititlán.

I went there on a Sunday, and, even though the taller was closed, neighbors said they would call him. Just a few minutes later Pérez drove up, welcoming us with a big smile.

San Lucas is famous for its molcajetes (mortars for making salsa) and metates (flat stones for grinding grain), hand carved from the local basalt rock. Inside El Caminchín, we saw plenty of these, but also a collection of imaginative creations that told us we had found a true artist.

“My parents were farmers and they wanted me to follow in their footsteps,” Pérez told me. “But I’d go over to my uncle’s, who sculpted basalt. I started out making caballitos (little horses) and after that I let my imagination run wild. The truth is that I’m no good at copying. Whatever I make has to come out of my own head.”

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