Edilson y Eduard Castrilón

Workshop: Muebles Castri
Craft: Trabajos en madera
Trail: Caldas Route
Location: Salamina, Eje Cafetero


  Carrera 7 # 23-0 Salamina, Caldas

You discover one trade with Jesús Rincón: metalwork. It is normal to think that the trade of molding metals is carried out with fire in a place we know as a forge, but it just so happens that there is a type of this work that is done cold, and it is called metalwork. Today, in his sixties, Jesús is renown in his native Manizales for making religious art, candelabra, flower-pot holders, and all sorts of metallic ornamental wares following this technique. A happy coincidence, for there was no tradition in the matter in his family.

His life as an artisan, like the ones of so many others in Colombia, was born of necessity. Orphaned at the age of seven and part of an enormous family of 13 siblings, the struggle for the daily bread started early in his life. He recognizes that it was, of course, not easy, but he does not hesitate to say that his childhood was a happy one. And he carries this load with him, since he speaks of his work with joy and of his wife and three daughters as a blessing. He is profoundly devout and has spent these latter years of his life dedicated to cultivating his spirituality as a way of giving thanks.

He learned to weld at the Sena institute. There was where his passion and vocation for this art started. He started making decorations, windows, grids, handrails, and doors. He learned to master copper and iron and spent years training his hand. It was with through his learning and determination in different tasks that he met the great friends with whom he later started dreaming of independence. It is here that the universe of working metals cold starts, for he had the chance of taking on the challenge of working with disposable elements, what he calls “playing with iron and metal making figures.” He mixed this together with his decision of studying Economics at the Manizales University, where he met his wife, Luz Mila Gutiérrez, her accomplice and partner in everything. As he says this, he is surprised by the fact that he has been dedicated to the trade for almost 40 years.

When he starts tracing his creative spirit, he remembers that he loved circus art, magic in particular. He confesses dying of laughter that he wove small bracelets, did macramé, and made copper bracelets, small cars, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza dolls, and scorpions. Then, after many years and having established a family business, he started making tubular furniture, a fad that began in the early nineties. He began earning his livelihood crafting beds, sofas, cabinets, and buffets. He also used the power outage of 1991 to start making candelabra that sold “like arroz con leche.” One of her sisters started a candle-making business and thus they both gave Manizales light. He knows that, whenever he tells this story, he must emphasize certain aspects of the country. For this reason, he recalls the market madness in those years, when the drug economy permeated culture entirely and consumption of everything skyrocketed: “we were able to participate in three fairs at the same time, and we had to split in order to sell.” But this was a long time ago.

He loves working with the scraps of others, and he has long had suppliers who offer him their surplus material for him to experiment and create. He has even made musical instruments to play in the novenas with those metal scraps. He also makes chandeliers, and bases for candles, Virgin Maries, Christs, and all metal structures needed in places of worship. He combines these pieces with the miniatures he loves to make. And he has even partaken in architectural restorations that need work in metal. He has also been able to pass his knowledge on to the kids who help him in his workshop and hopes that they will be the ones who continue with the legacy of this craft. With fire and cold, he feels satisfied and happy with what he has achieved in life. Above everything, he feels that everything has had a purpose and says it without hesitating: “as long as I have the spirit, I want to be here and fight for the best way to finish.” Let it be so.

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