Taller de Artes y Oficios Polvo de Agua
Founded in 2000 by local artist José Luis García, with financial assistance from the Alfredo Harp Helú Foundation, this project aims to create jobs for native ñuu Savi peoples in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca. Here, in the “Land of Clouds”, men and women continue to make ceramics using ancient techniques.
The workshop targets mainly women artisans, who extract the clay from the riverbed, sieve it and scour the mountains for natural colorants to add life to their creations. Using a piece of gourd as a spatula, the clay “tortilla” they start out with begins to take shape. The final piece is then left to dry in the sun, burnished with flint or quartz and fired.
Guest resident artists like Marjorie Thébault and Claire Fréchet from France, Juan Jorge from Mexico City and Kimiko Matsuyoshi, a Japanese ceramist, participate in the learning process, but the workshop survives mainly on the proceeds of sales at institutions like the Santo Domingo Cultural Center and the Grañén-Porrúa bookstore in Oaxaca; the Casa Lamm Gallery and the Modern Art Museum in Mexico City, and similar institutions in Dallas and Washington D.C. The clay and palm pottery produced by the Polvo de Agua workshop has also been exhibited at Casa Lamm, the National Museum of the American Indian, the World Bank and La Mixteca Technological University.