Cesar & Rocio

Cesar is from the community of Totoras, near the city of Ambato, and his wife Rocio is from the city of Riobamba. They have been involved in work as artisans for more than 20 years, when Cesar first moved to the small city of Banos to learn in a workshop and then traveled to Bogota to sell his products. Cesar has completed a 6-month qualification course to become a legally-recognized artisan in Ecuador. This license comes with various privileges, including the ability to promote one’s products nationally and internationally.

Cesar and Rocio work with wood to make animal-shaped crayons and pens, as well as larger wood-carved and painted animal statues. The balsa wood they receive in its original form is damp so that they can easily cut it into the desired shape. Once that is done, they dry the wood for up to one week in strong sunlight, sand it, use a machine to burn thin dark lines into the wood, and finally paint the wood with Colombian paint.

They currently live with their two teenage children (Javier and Joanna) who are attending university and have a workshop in their house with 2 workers. Cesar enjoys his job as an artisan and says, “It is nice that my kids are studying.” He enjoys selling his products internationally because the Ecuadorian market has very low prices, whereas the international market allows him to better cover his costs of labor and materials, and he feels that the value and intricacy of the work is respected.