SAN LUIS — The actual loss is impossible to estimate following a Tuesday evening fire that destroyed the studio workshop of Huberto Maestas in the old county shop building.
Not allowed to enter the building Wednesday afternoon, Maestas said the cause of the blaze hasn’t been determined and won’t be until a fire marshal arrives, possibly as late as Thursday.
Not only was it the workshop of Maestas, renowned sculptor of the Stations of the Cross above San Luis, as well as other pieces including one at the Vatican, it is the studio of son Aubin, who sculpts in stone, and grandson Amyas, a high school freshman who has had pieces on public display, including the “old goat” at the intersection of Main and State. Daughter Bianca also creates.
Looking down at the ground, an author Dana Maestas, wife of Huberto and matriarch of the family, said of the loss, “Thirty years of our lives – gone.”
Aubin helped photograph the scene for the newspaper and observed that all the casting molds are gone and work in progress is gone, but brass pieces survived. Huberto said heat must exceed 3,000 degrees to melt bronze and his two casting furnaces still stand.
Not only is the family’s artwork gone, work accumulated over the years by other artists is lost and the medals that once adorned Huberto’s father during the Korean Conflict have fallen prey to the flames.
As he paced back and forth in front of the place he visited daily and created his artwork, his phone rang. Someone who had contracted a piece was concerned about loss.
“It’s hard to explain,” he said quietly after the call ended.
The old building, which housed the family’s creative world, was built in the 1920’s and served as the Costilla County Shop. The sign above the door tells that history while a series of handprints next to the entrance are the marks of a family.
Standing in the midst of devastation, a bronze lady surveys the loss as if to declare her survival. Bronze requires very high heat to melt./Photos by Sylvia Lobato and Aubin Maestas
With a work in progress on the table, work interrupted is the story told without words.