Maestra Viviana has been known as the living legend of Oaxaca, Mexico, featured in major books representing the master artisans of the region and exemplifying Zapotec culture. Her name has spread far and wide, taking Viviana across the globe to teach and demonstrate others her craft - from Japan to Europe to the United States.
Viviana first began making candles when she was 7 years old, raised and taught by her grandmother, who was also a candlemaker. Viviana never had the chance to go to school, and so she never got a chance to learn how to read and write. But, her grandmother was persistent in teaching Viviana her craft, knowing it would bring her great opportunities throughout life, and that it would earn her a steady living, something school could not necessarily guarantee her. Just as her grandmother imagined, Viviana quickly became known for her great talent and extensive knowledge.
She earned the title “Maestra”, meaning master or teacher in Spanish, from her constant sharing and teaching of her craft with others. Today, she has passed down her technique to her family - her son, Jose, and her two daughters-in-law, Petra and Guillermina. Viviana has also revived the artisanal knowledge in her small town, with several families tracing their roots back to candle making and learning from the Maestra herself.
Vivian creations are vivid and full of color, from classic shaped candle sticks to intricate detailed flower designs. Their magic stems from their essence of love. Traditionally, when a man proposes for marriage, he is to bring the bride’s parents a bouquet of flowers, a large candle, and fruits. Out of these items, the candle is thought to be most important, in the same way engagement rings are an important element of marriage in most cultures.