"One of the greatest challenges in my life has been to work to the standards of great artisans and discover the beauty in the most humble of materials… to demonstrate to the world that...
Read Full Story
"One of the greatest challenges in my life has been to work to the standards of great artisans and discover the beauty in the most humble of materials… to demonstrate to the world that we are capable of sharing our own particular vision of beauty and, at the same time, achieve a better life for our families and collaborators.
"I'm Ismael Rodríguez Bautista, born on June 17, 1953. I make beautiful, handcrafted lamps.
"My childhood was a time of formation and learning. While in elementary school, I took a course in drawing at the public library and I was fascinated by craft activities like making plaster statuettes and carving wood. I also taught myself the basics of photography, as my parents never had the opportunity to attend school.
"My father was a driver for a company that constructed highways and that job brought us to an artisan town in 1966. I was in my last year of junior high and I was astonished at the ability of the local people as they transformed a simple pile of earth into diverse and wonderful ceramic objects.
"In my free time, I'd visit the workshops to see and learn the way they worked. As time went by, I studied engineering while working in ceramic painting, papier mache, decoration, etc. The first money I earned as a helper in a workshop went to buy a bag of dried clay and pigments, I'm proud to say. And I asked a local artisan to teach me to make clay jars like he did for a living. After a couple of weeks of hard work, I came home with two bags of beautiful jars… at least my mother said they were beautiful. They lasted several months.
"At the age of 34, I decided to dedicate all my time to handicrafts, and this has been my formal job ever since. I set up my own workshop behind the home my parents had built for the family. Little by little, we built up our business and, although it is quite small, it lets us create different designs using a variety of materials.
"We work in contemporary ceramics, stoneware, rustic terracotta and, in recent years, in metal sculpture and wrought iron. Our designs are 100 percent handcrafted, and we've exhibited our work in Mexico, the U.S. and Colombia.
"My favorite hobbies are reading, film, photography and, of course, creating beautiful handicrafts. I consider my craftwork as an expression of the joy of living, the happiness of being able to make quality pieces worthy of entering the lives of others who have different lifestyles and tastes. My inspiration comes from everyday life, from living in a town with other artisans and from the diversity of objects made here, from the ability, dedication and patience of the ancestral inhabitants of this community, their dedication and concepts of shape and line.
"When you choose one of our designs, you receive not only a piece of singular beauty and high quality. We are sharing with you the pride and joy of a job well done. We want to offer you a motive for making our planet a place where life is worthwhile."