The Garcia Sisters discovered "art" after they began carving slate years ago. They came to realize that something moved from within the depth of their souls which expressed itself through an incredible energy and vision into action.
But the sisters also remember the words of their father who said, "Are you going to eat stone? Who is going to buy stone? People buy food, not stone." And for the first years he would not help his daughters as they pursued their need to carve. Still the women toiled over the stone for it was their father who taught them, "When I say I'm going to do something I'm going to do it."
So several years later when the daughters found their father carving a large jaguar they were surprised. It was then that they learned about their father's own carving experience. As a boy he had no money and would carve bowls from limestone to exchange for food in order to survive. And now The Garcia Sisters are able to make their art part of their survival. They exhibit in galleries around the world, teach art classes, and have made it possible to purchase their original Mayan art through Art Center Exports. The Art Center purchases and promotes the preservation of the Tanah Mayan Art Museum and the Mayan culture.
Once a year, the Garcia Sisters need to collect their raw material. This is a time of renewal, re-energizing, and to put it very simply, a very happy occasion to look forward to.
Slate is normally collected from creeks and river beds. The Garcia's own special place, "secret" in reality, is hidden deep within the Maya Mountains. Not any slate will do. Even at this "secret garden" only specially selected pieces will return to Tanah. The very sight of the creek bed to which the sisters return to yearly, is in itself, refreshing to the human spirit. The act of walking through the creek bed, getting soaked, putting hands on the earth, and feeling the smoothness or roughness of new stone revitalizes both the body and spirit for the Garcia family of artists.
And how is the slate collected? Maria Garcia says, "You are drawn to the stone. The stone is also drawn to you and your vision." Each chunk of new slate taken back will have a special purpose. These stones, some small chunks others very large and bulky, have to be carried back on the shoulders of the individual family members to their truck on the roadside a few miles upstream.
With the new stones safely back at Tanah, they will be stored respectfully in closed sheds or buried underground. The renewal has been completed. The Earth has released her children into the caring hands of the Garcia Sisters, making it possible to now offer some of these magically transformed pieces of delicate art work to the public.