As you walk up to Andy Jarmillo’s front door, you know you are at the home of a craftsman. The outside of his place is decorated with all kinds of interesting objects. There are old bones, twisted driftwood, rocks, petrified wood, and license plates. All these items are arranged to create interesting displays.
When you walk around to the side of his home you come across his woodworking area. This is where he creates his magic. Andy makes burl bowls. A burl is a growth on a tree that usually has wild swirling grain and unusual figuring. They are caused by an irritation in the growing tree from an insect, stress, fungus, virus, etc. Andy mostly uses aspen wood.
There is a pile of burls and a few tools – that’s it. There is no elaborate shop full of hand-saws and chisels. Andy works with three hand drills that have various grinding attachments. He works outside because of the dust, and does everything by hand. As he grinds out a bowl shape into the burl, he sometimes finds cracks in the swirling patterns of the wood. After working to sand the shapes smooth, he fills these little indentations with crushed turquoise. Then Andy applies a reddish stain and finishes the piece with a nice varnish.
These beautiful bowls are all different: no two are ever the same. The demand for Andy’s bowls is ever growing. He has recently sold seven of them, with an order for four more. The bowls are labor- and time-intensive creations. They are unique and they speak to Andy’s love for the outdoors.
About My Art
When I asked him what made him start to do bowls, Andy describes his love of nature as a big reason. He says that there are only three people in Questa who know how to do the bowls. One of these folks is Andy’s friend, so he taught Andy.
He says he “likes doing them, but the burls are getting harder and harder to find.” He has two locations where he goes to find the burls, two secret locations.
This is not the only form of craft that Andy does. His home is full of what he call “Artifacts.” There are arrowheads, knives, Indian cradleboards, bows and arrows, and decorated animal skulls. There are also beaded necklaces, dreamcatchers, and stone-headed war clubs. Andy has made them all.
Andy is from Antonito, Colorado. He lived in Wyoming for a bit, then moved to San Luis, Colorado. There Andy raised his family. They all graduated through the San Luis school system. He is a retired security guard from the Chevron mine and has lived in Questa for 12 years.
If you are interested in getting one of Andy’s bowls or in seeing his created “Artifacts,” give him a call. His warm smile and firm handshake will always welcome you.
lives in Questa
and can be reached at