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Genoveva Castellanoz was born November 18, 1932, in Mexico. When she was two, her family moved to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas for work. There, she learned the household arts of crocheting, knitting, and embroi- dery. She also learned to make paper flowers.
Castellanoz became an important figure among Mexican Americans in a wide area because she made paper and wax flowers for baptisms, wed- dings and quinceañeras. The basic materials of Castellanoz’s art are simple and inexpensive: typing paper or crepe paper, wax candles, scissors, glue, and wire. She begins by cutting out the petals, forming them into the shape of the desired flower and binding them with wire or glue. Then she melts candles and dips the paper in the wax.
“Even though a lot of people don’t think so, I believe that the flowers have their own personality,” Castellanoz said. “For me they do, because I work with them and I see that some flowers let their little petals bend; others don’t. Some flowers will take the wax, but this one didn’t. So I think that they have their own mind, and I respect each one. No two are exactly alike.” Castellanoz has demonstrated the making of the corona in festivals and school programs, and has participated in workshops and other educa- tional efforts, and for the general public. In addition, Castellanoz is a curandera and is well known as a faith healer in her community.
Eva was a NEA National Heritage Fellow in 1987 and lives in Nyssa, Oregon