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Elmer Alvarez has been wood carving since 1979. Elmer is Louise Ortega's brother in law. He started wood carving following his brother David and Felipe Archuleta. It was strictly a hobby to begin with but by 1985 Elmer was turning his hobby into a full time business in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At this time the Ortega family was following in their father's footsteps carving saints and angels, whereas, Elmer leaned towards animals & especially coyotes! At that time, and even more so today, Elmer is the only one specializing in coyotes. Elmer says back in the day there were no coyote tee shirts, neon lights, coffee cups, etc., but they are common place today. Did Elmer start this southwestern coyote fad?? Elmer's coyotes are all made from cottonwood. He his looking specifically for the shape of the the wood and the knots which form the chests, this knot determines the size of the overall coyote. The twist in the piece of wood also detremines how the coyotes is shaped in it's howl pose. Other pieces from this cottonwood make the tails, ears & legs. Cottonwood is a softer wood then Pinon or Juniper & lends itself to being transformed into the wonderful coyotes you see here.
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