Before 1961, the Seri had always carved utility pieces and toys out of soft wood. They had also carved pieces out of weathered ironwood to make things they used and needed. But the year 1961 was a turning point in the lives of Seri carvers. One man, José Astorga, had seen the need for a paperweight among some Anglos who had written on papers that had blown away. So José made an ironwood paperweight and polished it. That was the beginning. He branched out into objects that he knew, such as sea life. Eventually some of the other villagers recognized Astorga’s success, and the craft expanded throughout the whole village. Such items are being made even today, and the carvers have gotten quite sophisticated about their work.
Gift of Imogene Davis