Women of the Red Clay - San Marcos Tlapazola

Women of the Red Clay

San Marcos Tlapazola, Mexico

Artisans in Group

12

Products Made

8

Years Working Together

25

Techniques Used

  • Red Clay
Women of the Red Clay - San Marcos Tlapazola
In the small Zapotec village of San Marcos Tlapazola, women have been making pottery out of red clay gathered from high in the surrounding mountains for twenty generations. Using their hands and tools such as pieces of smooth leather, corn cobs, and a deconstructed basketball as a pottery wheel, the women have traditionally made comales (flat griddles usually used to make tortillas) and cazuelas (fire and oven safe covered dishes for stews).
Women of the Red Clay - San Marcos Tlapazola
In the 1980s, as industrialization crept towards the remote village and slow-crafted, handmade pottery began to be replaced by cheaper and faster materials and techniques, the younger generation of artisans decided to expand outside of the traditions of previous generations. The then 18-year-old Macrina Mateo began to travel outside the village to learn how to adapt their goods and practices to reach new groups of people interested in the history and the distinctive aesthetic of the red clay. Today the village is thriving and the women of the red clay are known worldwide for their unique offerings.

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