[00] Glossary

Please comment if you’d like a word added to this glossary.

bulto A traditional Spanish Colonial art form where iconic Christian saints are carved from local woods and either left bare or painted.

colcha A traditional embroidery form on handwoven wool fabric called “sabanilla cloth” using wool thread that is often hand spun and hand-dyed using natural dye sources.  The colcha stich is a long stich in which the next stitch parallels and bisects the first.  This creates a full, dimensional effect in the finished embroidery.  The piece may be sparsely or fully covered and often contains images from nature like birds, flowers and animals and may also have themes mimicking the imagery of the retablo.

gesso (traditional) A paint that is used to prime a variety of surfaces.  In the Spanish Colonial Arts,traditional gesso is plaster-like and water-based.  It is used to prepare painted retablos and bultos.  It consists of calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, animal hide glue and water.

MOSCA Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts

NHCC National Hispanic Cultural Center

retablo A traditional Spanish Colonial art form where iconic Christian images are painted on prepared wood boards.  Most commonly, images are of a single saint.

Santero/Santera Artist who creates retablos and/or bultos.

SCAS Spanish Colonial Arts Society

sizing A process of applying a coat of the hyde glue mixture to wood boards to control moisture absorption when the gesso is applied.

Spanish Colonial Arts A grouping of arts and crafts that derived from the works of original Spanish Colonial settlers established in the 1600’s and revived through the New Deal Era Works Projects Administration in the 1930’s.  The list of traditiona Spanish Colonial Arts includes, but is not limited to tinwork, weaving, micaceous clay pottery, silverwork, retablos, bultos, straw applique and wood working.  Please visit MOSCA for exceptional examples of historic and contemporary Spanish Colonial Arts.


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