Oaxacan artisans, decendants of the Zapotec, use wood from the Copal tree to carve sculptures of fantastical animal-like creatures inspired by dreams. Each piece is individualy carved by hand using machetes and knives. Finished pieces are hand-painted with acrylics.
The sun dryed wood from the female Copal tree is preferred for carving since it produces the most powerful Alebrije.
Legend invites the owner of an Alebrije to write down their nightmares and then feed them to the Alebrije, who will happily eat them all.