A Gift of Wood Carving Tools for Oaxaca’s Puech Ikots Collective

I am posting this message below from Jenny Smith at the University of Chicago who works with a wood-carving collective in Oaxaca.  She is raising funds to help the group buy tools for their livelihood.  Perhaps you will consider a holiday gift in keeping with the season to sustain these talented carvers.


Saludos amigos,

I’m writing on behalf of the indigenous artists collective Puech Ikots, based in Oaxaca, Mexico.  I have your contact info because you and I have met in some context related to art and/or Oaxaca.

As you know, I work directly with the collective on a joint Mexican-American fair trade/cultural promotion initiative.  Carlos Orozco (an indigenous Oaxacan) organizes the collective in Oaxaca, and I represent the collective in the United States.  There are now six artists in the collective, including Carlos.  I’m also a board member of the Cuentos Foundation (www.cuentosfoundation.org), a registered 501(c)(3).  Cuentos Foundation is the fiscal sponsor of Puech Ikots.

The collective members have identified some areas where they could really use support.  Specifically, the artists don’t have decent artistic tools to work with.  They do all their carving with rough knives, which is extremely time-consuming. Woodworking tools, which are relatively inexpensive here, are very expensive in Mexico.

We’ve developed a holiday Wish List of artistic tools on Amazon.com for the Puech Ikots collective.  They are very simple, inexpensive tools that will make the lives of the artisans so much easier, and ease the creative process for them.  Some of the items include machetes for harvesting and cutting up the copal wood; knives and chisels to carve the wood; picks for adding small details to the carved art pieces; even finger guards to protect the artists’ fingers from being cut while carving. Some items on the list are as low as $1.50.  Sets of wood chisels, knives or machetes generally run between $9-20.


I’m writing to you to ask if you would consider purchasing a gift for the Puech Ikots collective this Christmas from their Wish List.  All items purchased will be considered gifts for the Cuentos Foundation (our fiscal sponsor).  The Cuentos is a registered 501(c)(3), so all purchases are tax-deductible.  If you do make a purchase, please include your contact information so that Cuentos can generate a letter of acknowledgment for you.

All items purchased will be shipped to me in Chicago, and I will transport them down to Mexico early next year.  Another option would be to make a tax-deductible cash contribution to Puech Ikots via the Cuentos Foundation, for the purchase of artistic tools.

Finally…even if you are not able to consider this request right now, I and the collective members would be so grateful if you would send this message to anyone you think is interested.

Thank you so much for your time!  Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo a todos 🙂

Jenny Smith
on behalf of the Puech Ikots collective



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