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San Antonio de Ibarra Displays Wood Carvings Both Rustic As Well As Wood Art Figures!

This is the showroom of Master Carver Luis Potosi!


San Antonio de Ibarra has been known for decades as the "City of Wood." If it's wood carvings of any size, from small wooden key chains and whistles, to literal works of fine art that would decorate any fine art museum then San Antonio is the place to find it...or have it made.

Two carvers hard at work in their taller.


While there are many "talleres" and wood carvers by the score in and around San Antonio de Ibarra, most are carvers of the "rustic" variety, content to carve without all the detail of a real work of art.

There are some, who truly create, and one such would be the galleries of Luis Potosi.

Carving more ornate figures in wood!


Luis Potosi started carving in 1957 and established his on gallery shortly after that. He has taught more than 100 carvers the trade, and in turn these students have taught relatives and family members the secret of wood carving.

As a result, hundreds today in Ecuador have work as a result of what one man has given, unaffected by what many might consider creating his own competition. Yet Luis Potosi is confident in his ability to create art, and not imitate, but give opportunity to others to produce likenesses using their ability and uniqueness.

Unique combination of wood and Tagua!


Wooden Chess sets have become very popular during the last 20 years, and Ecuador has a fair number of artisans creating some first class sets, full of detail and personality.

The Master. Luis Potosi.


When you visit Ecuador, one of those cities you won't want to miss is San Antonio de Ibarra, and the gallery of Luis Potosi. It is one of those places that offers a variety of carvings, and the beauty of an artists hand.

Photos and videos, as good as they are, still don’t equal the scene through your own eyes. Words can paint a picture up to a certain point. Seeing the Hummingbirds within three feet of your nose, how they flit through the air, the variance in size mixed with their petty little fights as they zip from one spot to another.

These little critters are notorious for their aggressiveness and territorial domain. Even among themselves you can see the face-offs. How unusual then when a small Wren flew up to the feeder with no challenge. Hardly bigger than the Hummers it was none the less a “bird of a different feather!”

Looking down at the river many things come into view. In this case it was what appeared to be Hawks, until realization kicked in that they do not fly in flocks! So it was just a bunch of Buzzards. That sort of brought things back into focus.

Still, returning after 8 years, the scene continues to capture all my senses. There were other noticeable changes with the Mirador itself, as guest rooms have been added and the parking lot is smaller as a result.

Patricio Espinel Will Greet You In English Or Spanish At El Mirador Del Rio Blanco!

A few minor changes near the entrance, yet welcoming as ever. Inside boasted a balcony which had been a window on the second level. Everything else was pretty much as my memory recalled. That changed as soon as I walked out the back door to the patio.

What had been a wooden or bamboo structure was now one of concrete. If possible the view was even grander as it seems obstructions have been removed. What is more likely is the patio is larger and extended further out, providing a regal exposure as far as the eye can see.

If you can witness this without taking in a deep breath, and muttering a grateful “wow,” then pinch yourself. You may have left this planet. For those still here this is one you don’t want to miss.

Patricio Espinel will greet you in English or Spanish as he is fluent in both, having spent is educational years in the U.S. He is an excellent host, and the food offered in the restaurant is both traditional and tropical. Having selections for vegetarians is especially thoughtful. Add the platform for the bird watchers and a window looking out into some foliage where the feathered patrons like to gather, and you may be treated as we were to the presence of Toucans.

It is not the jungle where these avians normally prefer as a habitat, but here they were and had just shown up a few minutes after our arrival. Almost as if to say, “see what a special treat we are for your viewing pleasure?”

El Mirador del Rio Blanco in Los Bancos, Ecuador. Put that one on your “bucket list!”


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