"Many years ago I was orphaned ~ at age twelve.... Fortunately life allowed me to follow the path of my family's legacy ~ our magical world of traditional Peruvian mate gourds art."
"I'm Emilio F. Hurtado Laureano, and I was born in Huancayo on May 28, 1954. This art is in my blood. My art has been carried within my family from generation to generation, all of us bringing to life the magical world of natural materials. Through my own initiative and desire to learn, my eyes saw and my hands created. This is how I began in this wonderful world, trying to create and create.
"I'd describe my art as something elaborated with great care in order to achieve better and better quality each day. I feel proud of the advances of each of my works.
"Many years ago I was orphaned ~ at age twelve ~ and needed to work to survive. Fortunately life allowed me to follow the path of my family's legacy ~ our magical world of traditional Peruvian mate gourds art. For me this work remains a place of wonderful daydreams.
"Above all, I've always been motivated by my family, my children, my town, and to spread the richness of Peru through my customs.
"I work in a family setting where we all put something into each piece, to communicate the marvels of our Andean home. We want the customs of our ancestors to be known.
"I remember when I began. I went to work in the handicraft businesses that existed when I was only 12. I worked there until I was 20. At that time, I decided to marry and quit my job. With my brothers, we formed a group that will always remember the Hurtado family and continue the art of our ancestors.
"The greatest challenge in my life has been to help my brothers get ahead. They were only eight, six and four when our parents died. I was the oldest and had to struggle for all of us, to feed and educate everyone, even though I didn't enjoy consistent work at that time. That is why I worked so hard to learn this art day by day, in order to start a workshop for all of us and not have to depend on anyone.
"Today I also help teach students. It is wonderful to be able to reach them, and to leave a little bit of myself in each part of this work. I thank God for giving me a skill that others can use to get ahead in life, just as I did.
"I'd like to tell Novica shoppers that our carved mate gourds are filled with history and culture. They are more than a gift, they are the result of generations of artisans. We are very proud of them and grateful for this opportunity."