Gerardo Gutierrez is at home in his workshop. Literally and figuratively. Just a few yards from the kitchen, Gerardo’s workshop begins to hum at 5:00 AM each morning. As he patches together the electricity and flips on the lathes, it doesn’t take long for the sawdust and Gerardo’s jokes to start flying.
Having grown up tucked off the busy streets of Masaya, Nicaragua, Gerardo has been around woodworkers all his life. Acclaimed by Masayans and Rick Steves alike as the artisanal heart of Central America, Masaya is laden with craftsmen of many forms. A quick walk through the market and you’ll find beautiful ceramics, hammocks, baskets, paintings, belts, shoes and woodwork, all locally handmade.
If you venture past the market and make it to his home, Gerardo is quick to shut off the machines and greet you with a warm smile and a cup of coffee prepared the Nicaraguan way – heavily sweetened. And, as you walk back to his shop, something is bound to catch your eye amidst the piles of beautiful wood samples. Gerardo’s talent, as well as that of his employed shop workers, is quickly evident as you watch them transform raw blocks of wood into simple and clean masterpieces, each celebrating the beauty of the wood itself.
Working with wood and creating beautiful shapes is a great joy for Gerardo. But, it is also a great joy for him to create opportunity for others. Gerardo is now able to employ 5 other woodworkers, to whom he willingly passes on his craft and with whom he enjoys sharing his success. Soft-spoken, light-hearted and confident, Gerardo is a pleasure to work with and a great face for Chaka’s line of wood products.