Maque and Laca
Laca is a traditional craft from Patzcuaro. Every piece-- from the large plate or box, to the small mirrors or bracelets like the ones we feature here--is painted by hand. Gold or bronze leaf is added to complete each piece.
There are only about a dozen artists in Michoacán, Mexico still working in the Pre-Columbian lacquer art known in the region as maque. In Uruapan, just a few workshops are doing embutidobatea, filled in with pigment and then polished down. Maque artists use wood plates, boxes, and gourds as the base for their work. There is an elaborate polishing process involved to achieve a shiny colored base for the floral and animal motifs that will later emerge. Insect fat is boiled, and pine resin and then garlic are added. Beautiful colors are created by using all natural pigments made from cactus worm and a variety of plants and soils. Designs are cut into the base with a needle, and then the pigments and oil are rubbed into the design.
or inlay, where a design is cut into the lacquer background on a gourd or wood