After studying Philosophy for a year, and after obtaining good academic results, Juan Carlos Rotaeche decided to move on to the world of stone. He started as a student at the School/Workshop in Laredo, at the age of 18, to then move on to working for different master masons of the area with which he progressively acquired the knowledge of the craft. These masters also provided him many little secrets regarding stone work, which were only known by those former master masons. Later on, in 1991, when he was only 21 years old, after having passed several filters against other of his colleagues, he was elected to lead the stone workshop of the School/Workshop in Santander for a period of three years. Over this period of time the following projects took place: the restoration of the Panteón del Inglés, the Chapel of the Virgen del Mar, the restoration of the wind rose in Piquío, etc. During these years, he coincided with the master mason and sculptor Mr. Enrique Somavilla, from whom he learnt the most important techniques and expanded his knowledge on direct carving of stone sculptures. Training: Professional Training Course I, specializing in stone and ornamental marble (1996) Professional Training Course II, specializing in stone and ornamental marble (1998). Other studies: Course at the School/Workshop in Laredo. Specializing in Masonry (1990); Workshop on oil painting and auxiliary techniques delivered by the Obra Social y Cultural de Caja Cantabria (1990); Course to Specialize in Teaching (1991); Course on Health and Safety at Work, delivered by the Mutua Montañesa (1991); Technician for the selection of personnel in charge of being the instructors for the Masonry School/Workshops (1997) and Professional Occupational Training Course under the title of “Marmolista Ornamental”, delivered by the Consorcio Escuela del Mármol de Fines.
Between 1991 and 1994, he was Masonry Instructor at the School/Workshop in Santander, training 15 students. Works carried out: Rosa de los Vientos, at the Piquío Gardens, Ermita de la Virgen del Mar and Panteón del Inglés, in Cueto. From 1996 to 2000 he was a Masonry Instructor at the School/Workshop Amigos del Soto, where he trained 24 students. Work carried out: restoration of the Monastery of Soto Iruz.
He carries out all sorts of stone works, using different traditional techniques: Building of rubble masonry walls, where he uses the hammer, pickaxe, stone masonry axe, hand tracers, etc. Carving of ashlar stones, mouldings, capitals, etc., for which he uses different kinds of mallets, chisels, tooth chisels, etc. Bas-reliefs and sculptures, where he usually carries out the direct carving technique, drawing directly on the stone without a prior sketch. For this type of work he uses all sorts of manual tools apart from compasses and pointing machines, etc. He manufactures and restores different architectural elements such as arches, vaults and pillars, both in the construction and the restoration of both religious and civil buildings. Apart from using traditional tools, he uses centerings, trusses and all sorts of bracing.