Artisan of the Week – Artesano de la Semana Wood Vases – Jarrones de Madera

Artisan of The Week: Oscar Maute

Mr. Maute was born in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. He comes from a family of German descent.
As a child, Mr. Maute lived in a small town within the state of Santa Cruz. He watched his father work with wood, making handmade crafts and mostly carved with very rudimentary tools. Maute’s father sold these crafts to the local customers.

Mr. Oscar Maute at his shop - Don Oscar Maute en su taller
Mr. Oscar Maute at his shop – Don Oscar Maute en su taller
This is his tool for turning wood – Esta es su maquina torneadora
These are his hand tools for working on the vases – Estos son sus instrumentos que utiliza cuando trabaja en los jarrones
His machine – Su máquina

Mr. Maute took the education provided by his father and coupled it with his own self-taught techniques to create beautifully turned wood vases, bowls, and bomboneras, made of exotic woods from Bolivia. Maute also developed his own style of applying a piano-like finish to his creations. He has been making the wood pieces in his Santa Cruz shop for many years now. Maute primarily works alone, but sometimes he hires someone to assist him when his orders require it. Oscar stated that his sons are all professionals, but didn’t inherit his passion for the business of wood turning. Instead, Mr. Maute instills his passion for fine wood turning into others by teaching his trade at the University of Santa Cruz.
Right now he is working on small pieces because that is the only thing that he can make out of the wood that he currently has in stock. Some of the wood he receives does have the density necessary to withstand the turning process that a large piece goes through, but instead of scrapping it, he makes some amazing smaller pieces from sturdier pockets in the wood.

 Mr. Maute - Don Oscar Maute
Mr. Maute – Don Oscar Maute
These Vase is made of Tajibo Wood - Este Jarron es de madera Tajibo
These Vase is made of Tajibo Wood – Este Jarron es de madera Tajibo
This Vase is made of Morado Wood - Este Jarron es de madera Morado
This Vase is made of Morado Wood – Este Jarron es de madera Morado
This is a bombonera - Esta es una bombonera
This is a bombonera – Esta es una bombonera

Artesano de La Semana

El señor Maute nació en Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Viene de una familia de descendencia alemana.
Don Maute vivió en un pequeño pueblo en Santa Cruz cuando era niño y vio a su padre trabajar con madera haciendo artesanias talladas a mano utilizando instrumentos muy rudimentarios. Su papá vendía sus trabajos a las personas del pueblo.
Don Oscar Maute aprendió de su papá y tambien el mismo se enseño técnicas para crear hermosas piezas de madera como son sus jarrones, fuentes, y bomboneras; piezas hechas de maderas exóticas de Bolivia. El señor Maute tambien creó su propio estilo de aplicación de brillo final a sus creaciones, dandoles un acabado que brilla como si fuera de ceramica o porcelana. El ha estado trabajando con madera por muchos años ya en su taller en la ciudad de Santa Cruz; el trabaja generalmente solo, haciendo piezas de madera, aunque a veces tiene que emplear a alguien que lo ayude cuando tiene pedidos grandes. Sus hijos son todos profesionales y al parecer no le heredaron la pasión y el gusto por el trabajo en madera. Don Maute enseña y transmite este hermoso arte del torneado en la Universidad de Santa Cruz.
Cuando fuimos a visitarlo a su taller Don Oscar estaba trabajando en piezas pequeñas más que todo joyeros y bomboneras chicas porque es lo único que puede trabajar con la madera que tiene ahora. A veces consigue madera que esta muy dañada pero en lugar de botarla toda Don Oscar aprovecha un pedazo por lo menos y lo convierte en algo hermoso.


Wood Vases, Tajibo Wood – Jarrones de Madera, Madera Tajibo

cropped-vase-3-.jpgvase 2
These vases are made of Tajibo wood. Tajibo is a hardwood used in Bolivia for flooring. It is a hard wood relative of Guayacan wood. The vase on the right has a laquer which enhances the color of the wood and the wood grain, the vase on the left does not have a laquer and it shows the true color of the wood.

Wood Vases

Most of the wood vases that we have are made by Don Oscar Maute, an artisan of  German descent who was born in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
In this picture we can appreciate the creativity of Don Maute, he is displaying Bomboneras (bowls with a lid) and Jewelry boxes.

Don Oscar Maute
Don Oscar Maute

bombonera3bombonera1-2 morado vase 65 too


The wood vases that we have are made of two different woods, Morado and Guayacan.
Don Oscar Maute is a very skillful artisan who works in the turning of wood. He makes wonderful looking pieces using different types of wood such as Morado and Guayacan.
Don Oscar finds his material at lumber yards, he carefully chooses from scraps for the material that will help him create his master piece. Morado and Guayacan are hardwoods that are used in Bolivia for floors and are in high demand, so it is no wonder that artisan Don Maute has a hard time finding material to create his pieces.

Here is some information about these exotic woods
Morado: the common names of this wood are Pau Ferro, Morado, Bolivian Rosewood, Santos Rosewood. The scientific name is Machaerium spp.
It is called Bolivian Rosewood because it has many characteristics that are similar to the family of rosewoods, but it is not a true Rosewood.

Pau Ferro (Machaerium spp.)
The color can be highly varied, ranging from reddish/orange to a dark violet/brown, usually with contrasting darker black streaks. Narrow sapwood is a pale yellow and is clearly demarcated from the heartwood. The grain is typically straight, though sometimes slightly irregular or interlocked depending on the species. Fine, even texture and a naturally high luster—though depending on the particular species, the wood can have a coarser, more fibrous texture.
Pau Ferro is considered overall to be of fair workability, as it can blunt the cutting edges of tools, and any irregular grain has a tendency to tear out during machining operations. Also, many of the same challenges in gluing rosewoods are common to Pau Ferro as well. Pau Ferro turns and finishes well.
Common uses of Morado include veneer, musical instruments, cabinetry, flooring, interior trim, turning, and other small specialty wood objects.
Guayacan: The common name for this wood is Lignum Vitae, latin for tree of life or wood of life. The scientific name is Guaiacum Officinale.
The heartwood color can range from a pale yellowish olive, to a deeper forest green or dark brown to almost black. Grain has a unique feathered pattern when viewed up close. The color tends to darken with age, especially upon exposure to light. The grain is interlocked, sometimes severely so. Has a very fine texture and an oily feel. Bare wood can be polished to a very fine luster due to its high natural oil content.
This wood is considered quite difficult to work because of its extremely high density, but it is an exceptional wood for turning on the lathe and finishes well.
Lignum Vitae is regarded by most to be both the heaviest and hardest wood in the world, its natural oils provide self-lubrication that gives the wood excellent wear resistance. Lignum Vitae is now an endangered species. Verawood –a related wood species with similar working properties and characteristics –is commonly used as a substitute, and is sometimes called Argentine Lignum Vitae. Both woods are extremely hard, heavy, oily, and have a feathered grain pattern with a distinct brownish olive color.
Common uses for this wood are tool handles, mallet heads, bearings, bushings, pulley wheels, and turned objects.
Interesting facts about the Guayacan tree:
A tree that stands out in Panama and other Latin American countries is the Guayacan tree due to its stunning beauty. The botanical name is Tabebuia guayacan (Bignoniaceae).
The Guayacan tree and flower is symbolic in Latin America. For example; Tabebuia chrysotricha is the national flower of Brazil. Tabebuia rosea is the national tree of El Salvador and the Tabebuia chrysantha is the national tree of Venezuela. As a matter of fact, on May 29, 1948, Tabebuia chrysantha was declared the national tree of Venezuela due to its extraordinary beauty. Its deep yellow resembles the Venezuelan flag. It is one of about 100 species of Tabebuia.
Its wood is considered among the strongest and finest in the world. Proof of this are the timber frames in the ruins of the Panama Cathedral, which are still strong after more than 400 years.


The Wood Database
The Guayacan Tree