Mezcal and Fair Trade
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Potters of San Marcos Tlapazola, Oaxaca, Retain Pre-Hispanic Tradition While Transitioning to Attract Mezcal Aficionados
In keeping with my efforts to support talented Oaxacan artisans, especially during these tough economic times of COVID-19, I wrote this article about the potters of San Marcos Tlapazola, known for its barro rojo or red clay pottery, and how one woman in particular has transitioned to taking advantage of the global mezcal boom by producing hand-turned items with agave imagery. Here's the article link, and a photo gallery of the range of red clay pottery: https://ezinearticles.com/?Red-Clay-Potter-of-San-Marcos-Tlapazola-Transitions-to-Mezcal,-Agave-Motifs&id=10299358
María making a series of copitas; no wheel, all formed by hand, with agave on one side and a face on the other. But she can also customize as requested.
Finished red clay mezcal cups, initially designed by María's daughter Lucina when she was only eight years old. Every copita is unique.
The family also makes complete dinnerware sets, as illustrated here at the 2018 village fair. Oven safe!
Happy buyer scooped up this piece at the San Marcos Tlapazola Feria de Barro Rojo, 2018.
María relaxes by doing oils, when there is time.
Gloria is burnishing in the family workshop. Creations are burnished by hand, with no shellac, no varnish, no nothing except hand-labor, making every piece environmentally friendly and safe for using as drinking cups, cooking pots, etc.
Simple, folky plates. The plan is to have the women make more elaborate ones, with agave, quiote flowering, and hummingbirds feeding. And plates with other scenes illustrative of different stages of the process of making mezcal.
Other side has a raised face. Notice the form, finish, etc., all turned by hand,
All in the family, photo taken at the 2016 San Marcos Tlapazola fair.
Stands about 21 inches, campesino taking a break with bottle of mezcal.
Both sides of this vessel are illustrated. Any shape, size, image is possible.
Monkey planter stands about 22 inches.
The classic chango mezcalero, the originals dating to the 1930s.
Putting the finishing touches on a couple of pre-Hispanic Zapotec idols. All their pottery is fired in a rudimentary, open air above ground oven, fueled mainly with dried agave leaves (pencas) and flower stock (quiote).
Rather unique tops, just for the asking.
Thanks for viewing. Alvin Starkman: www.mezcaleducationaltours.com.