the cradle of peace
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La Palma Graphic The typical style

La Palma's Artisan History

1973 was a decisive year in the course of La Palma's history. It was the year in which Fernando Llort, the Salvadoran painter who has since gained national and international renown, arrived in La Palma.

Llort was born in 1949. From the very beginning he loved to draw, as he recalls: “since I was little it always fascinated me, and in school they always chose me to draw the maps on the blackboard.” After graduating from high school, he entered the University of El Salvador to study architecture. After this, his life would take a more international, and directly art-filled, turn.  In 1968 Llort was studying in France when he truly fell in love with art. He then studied in Belgium and the University of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Upon returning to El Salvador in 1973, he decided to move to La Palma.  Llort explains his desire to move to the peaceful town of La Palma, after years abroad: “I decided to live in La Palma because it was the place which since I was little we had visited on family vacations, and it had always called to me. Its alpine environment helped to inspire me.” When Llort arrived in the early 70s, the union of two childhood loves – drawing and the peaceful setting of La Palma – inspired the development of an artisan tradition, with its own aesthetics, that would come to be known as “La Palma Style.”  

A group of artists began to coalesce upon Llort's arrival, and in that same year of 1973 they formed an artistic commune which would soon become the first artisan workshop of La Palma.  Initially, they worked with wood, but the discovery of the copinol seed as a potential craft material followed shortly after.  Today the copinol seed is one of the most recognized materials of La Palma art.  stages of the copinol processThey decided to name their workshop La Semilla de Dios ("The Seed of God").  It became a legalized cooperative in 1977, and continues to be one of the largest and most respected workshops in La Palma. 

During the 70’s, La Semilla de Dios thrived not only as a successful workshop, but also as a source of training and inspiration for the young people working there.  By the mid 1970s, many of those burgeoning artisans had already begun to form their own workshops.  By 1980 there were already about 14 nascent workshops within La Palma.  The artisan community has continued to grow ever since.  Today, there are approximately 100 artisan workshops in the area, working in wood, clay, copinol seeds, and cloth.