Monday, November 10, 2008

Oaxaca Craft Round-Up: Part Three

Oaxaca is well known for it's black clay pottery - the only places it's found are in Oaxaca State in Mexico and in New Mexico in the States. I got to visit a couple of different workshops where it's made. The pottery is all hand-built without a wheel.

And this guy moved fast, so the pictures are pretty blurry! You can see there are two saucers - it looks like two frisbees set on top of each other curved side to curved side - and the potters use these to spin the pots as they work on them instead of a wheel.

And they can make them go very fast!

When the clay is leather hard, it's possible to cut patterns into it. The clay is also polished while it's leather hard, usually with a piece of crystal, and pit fired. If it's fired a long time, the clay can hold water, but it ends up a kind of gray. If it's fired for a shorter time, the clay turns out shiny and black, but is less practical. In the fifties, when plastic came on the scene, it was a lot cheaper than the pottery. But . . . the shiny black pottery was very pretty . . . and it was a big hit with tourists like me!

Here's the pieces I bought . . .

With candles . . . Pretty!

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