Leroy Ramon Archuleta


was a New Mexican woodcarver who followed the secular art form that his celebrated father, Felipe Benito Archuleta, initiated in Tesuque. Working with his father inhis workshop for many years, he used local materials, mainly cottonwood, to carve such animal forms as coyotes, dogs, rabbits, and snakes, which were familiar in hisenvironment. For more exotic species, such as bears, jaguars, kangaroos, lions, macaws, and yaks, he referred to sources like the
National Geographic Book of Mammals.
After selecting his wood, Archuleta used a chain saw to rough out his forms, then refined them with an ax, knife, chisels, rasps, and sandpaper. A mixture of sawdustand glue was used to build up his forms and to fill crevices before painting. Latex exterior house paint was applied for finishing. Glass marbles, broom bristles, bottlecaps, baling twine, telephone cable, and leather provided realistic embellishment for eyes, whiskers, skin, harnesses, and saddles. Plastic lawn edging was used for animal claws. Similar to his father’s style in form, technique, and materials, Archuleta’s animals are distinguished by smoother finishes and more benign attitudes.After high school, Archuleta worked in Colorado in a variety of jobs, including factory work, tree cutting, and as a laborer loading trucks. He returned to Tesuque in1973 and worked full-time, at first assisting his father, then carving his own animal figures. He represents the second of three generations of New Mexicanwoodcarvers, and was, along with his father, a mentor to Ron Rodriguez, his nephew, with whom he shared workspace for more than twenty years. Archuleta never married, but was beloved by family and friends.In 1994 he shared with his father the Award of Distinction from the Folk Art Society of America. An exhibition of his work, “Leroy’s Zoo,” traveled to a number of museums in 1999, and a children’s book of the same title, with text by Warren and Sylvia Lowe, was published in 1997.
See also
Felipe Benito Archuleta; Sculpture, Folk
Lowe, Warren, and Sylvia Lowe.
Leroy’s Zoo.
Montgomery, Ala., 1997.Mather, C, and D.Mather.
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! New Mexican Folk Carvings from the Collection of Christine and Davis Mather.
Corpus Christi,Tex., 1987.Museum of American Folk Art.
Ape to Zebra, A Menagerie of New Mexican Woodcarvings: The Animal Carnival Collection of the Museum of American Folk Art.
New York, 1986.