Joe Ortega, born in Tesuque, N.M., is the youngest son of Ben Ortega, the creator of the famed unpainted St. Francis figures.  Joe was raised in close proximity to the Felipe Archuleta household and early on became interested in working on painted wooden animals—unlike his father and brothers.  His sister, Luisa, married David Alvarez who was also very involved in a variety of wooden animals.  Creations unique to Joe include the pouncing pumas, shelf sitting animals, and the rabbit nativities.