Wood into art. That has been the lifework of Abad Eloy Lucero. Ever since he was 18 he has been turning pine and cottonwood into furniture, santos, retablos, bultos and other expressions of art. And that has been a long time-74 years--for he is now 92.
He began crafting wood for the Native Market in Santa Fe, making Spanish Colonial furniture. During the Depression he taught traditional Hispanic arts for the National Youth Administration, inspiring hundreds of students. After service in World War II, he returned to New Mexico for a series of jobs: construction, U.S. Forest Service shop foreman, trainer at the Springer Boys School, instructor in woodworking, sculpting, upholstery and painting in vocational institutions in Taos, Mora and Quay counties.
Since retiring from public service in 1971 he has concentrated on his art. His santos have been featured at the Museum of Albuquerque; and others of his works are in the permanent collection of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe. Visitors to business offices outfitted with his furniture sometimes think they are in a museum.
Among his honors is the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts.