Tallado en Madera: La maestría de una mujer artesana

Wood Carving: The Mastery of a Female Artisan

In the town of Detif, southeast of Isla Lemuy in Chiloé, lives Gloria Mancilla, a talented artisan who is dedicated to wood carving and who has shown that there are no genders for the trades.

His beginnings in carving

He learned about carving by watching his father, who made stirrups for horses. Her work caught his attention, however, he did not want to teach her because he said she was very young, since at that time she was barely 14 years old. One day, her father went to work in Argentina and that's when Gloria took her tools and started creating and experimenting. How he started out as a self-taught person, sometimes the wood broke or what he wanted to do didn't turn out so well, but through trial and error he learned. That same year, his sister had neurological damage whose treatment was very expensive, so she could not continue studying. To fill the gaps of time between caring for his sister, he continued carving. First as a hobby and then it became his livelihood.

Chilota Crafts

Mrs. Gloria makes different types of wood carving work, such as religious figures, Chilote landscapes and institutional logos. But lately what he has been commissioned most are replicas of the churches of Chiloé.

To make a church, Gloria collects ciruelillo wood and then cuts the piece from a mold. The process continues with brushing and drawing the church to begin carving with the chisel and knife. Making a church can take between 7 to 10 days, working an average of 8 hours a day, depending on the size of the figure.

Some of the biggest challenges he has had in his work have been the sculptures of hands, a crucified Christ and a chess board where each piece was a mythological character from Chiloé.

Breaking stereotypes

And for this job you have to have a lot of vocation, whoever tries it must really like it. Gloria believes that it would be very positive for new people to learn to carve and dedicate themselves to it, so that this beautiful tradition is not lost. In his family, his brother has been interested in the craft, but discovered that he likes carpentry more than fine carving.

In Detif no one has shown interest in learning about carving, but in another town there was once a workshop that turned out very well and where several women participated. Instances like that are very positive, since historically it is not a very feminine field, but it can perfectly be so.

Gloria has received many sexist comments throughout her career, she has been looked down upon by tourists, hardware dealers, etc. They have not believed that she is the artisan responsible for her beautiful sculptures just because for some it is inconceivable that a woman works with tools and knows about wood.

“When I went to the sawmill, they didn't believe that I needed the wood, and they told me that a piece of wood was useful when it clearly had many knots or was twisted.”

proud moments

Gloria has participated in the FOSIS and Capital Semilla in 2016, 2017 and 2018, in the first year her work was made known at the provincial level and in 2017 she was chosen to represent the entrepreneurial woman of the Los Lagos region in the Antofagasta National Fair. Currently you can review their products in our online store and marvel at the details of The Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Dalcahue.

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