Concordia wood artist Rafael becoming a tourist attraction


You can easily find it in the Plazuela de Concordia, with figures of all sizes ranging from 30 to 200 pesos for their detail

CONCORDIA.- The municipality of Concordia is known for being the main manufacturer of wooden furniture in the state, all of their houses have a shelf, a dining room, a bedroom or living room made in Concordia, the quality and their prices are not compared, and they can even exceed that of a commercial or chain furniture store. 

But did you know that there is also someone who is 100 percent dedicated to carving wood to make art?

Rafael Valerio Bonilla is a craftsman in Concordia, he is dedicated to wood carving, shaping the facades of houses and of Copala, his place of origin, to scale, and for 23 years they support him, being the only one of its kind in the municipal seat and becoming an attraction for the tourist. 

The idea, he said, did not come out overnight, it began when Copala was in full swing when North Americans and Europeans spent long periods among its cobbled streets and houses with old facades, an Italian was the one who taught it and eventually he clothed this work that has sustained him for years.

“We have two artisans who do this, my cousin in Copala and I here, I came from the construction of the Mazatlán-Durango and here I have become acclimated, mainly from the tourist who comes in ships,” he declared. 

His technique, although it looks easy, requires his time and patience, the search for the wood is a ritual, he allocates one day a week to go up to the saw and look for pieces of pochote tree, once he goes down, he breaks them to pieces and the magic begins. 

The carving is the most important thing, without losing the originality of the trunk, when the facade is smooth, it begins with the design of the image, it can be a few houses or even a scale-size Copala. 

“It takes time, not everyone finds it easy because you have to be patient, designing each piece takes me a day or two, depending on the size, with time and practice you improve,” he added. 

And he is doing well, he points out, while prices vary due to their sizes, he commented that his best customers are foreigners, buying him pieces for up to 400 pesos, considered a unique art, from the structure of the trunk, achieving up to in a day, take 2 thousand pesos. 

With this, and being his only profession, he helped with the family breadwinner, today, he is alone, his children emigrated to the border in Tecate, Baja California, achieving for him his goal, to make a living from handicrafts and help his family. 

He does not plan to leave it soon, he believes that there he will retire until his hands allow him, that there is a trace of Rafael as the craftsman who fell in love with hundreds of tourists who passed through Concordia with wood.


The Mazatlan Post