Manuel Ruiz Salazar &
In the world of miniature carving, José Abraham Ruiz stands out as a maestro who learned his art from his famous father, Don Roberto Ruiz (1928-2008) who is featured in the folk art collector's bible, "Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art, " published by Fomento Cultural Banamex.
Abraham (on the left) with his brother, José Manuel Ruiz Salazar, have dedicated their lives to following in the footsteps of their father - maestros themselves, they transform natural materials into precious, tiny figures. They are sons of the Great Master Don Roberto Ruiz, famous for his bone art miniatures and considered one of the most important popular artists in modern Mexico. At the time of his death, Don Roberto had made over 4,000 pieces of art.
Sterilized bone from cattle is the material of choice for creating the small angels, of the religious images as well as skulls and skeletons. The bone is worked with when dry, without any water or moistening agent. It is purchased from butchers or found on the street. His tools are his eyes, hands, peace and a lot of creativity - coupled with tiny drills, bits, spatulas, jeweler's saws, tweezers, polishers, etc.
The technique used is based on pressure and wearing away the material. After boiling, the bones are cut into pieces and then thoroughly cleaned. Then they are polished with a great deal of force so as to remove any imperfections they might contain.
The first cuts are made with tiny drills or emery wheels. Then begins the work of trimming and removing the areas of material that don't pertain to the figure. For this, various bits of various sizes are used - usually thin and fine.
Taking advantage of the natural shape of the bone, the artist decides on the figure he will produce. It might be a scene from the countryside, an animal or another delicate piece, which, on occasion, may measure a mere two centimeters.
To watch a video of the carving of these tiny miniatures click here.