"In my community in Oaxaca, people have worked with clay for many years."
"In my community in Oaxaca, people have worked with clay for many years. I began thanks to my husband's brother-in-law who created terracotta pieces. In 2006, I decided to start crafting my own ceramic designs.
"At first, I'd imagine a design but end up creating something different. It was fun! I'm thankful that life is like this after all. You're always planning and, suddenly, things don't turn out like you expected. This is when you have to adapt to the moment and find the beauty in the shadows, because there's always something lovely and nothing is as bad as it seems.
"One of my most difficult moments was when I was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis. This congenital heart defect was discovered later in life and I had open heart surgery in 2007. Afterward, I couldn't exert myself and stopped crafting pots, casserole dishes and flower pots and instead focused on creating pastillaje designs on ceramic, with relief motifs, modeled by hand.
"I enjoy this. At first, the ceramic piece looks black. Then a coat of engobe, or liquid clay, is applied to give it an earthen red color. Once it's finished, I apply the images, which I prepare by creating a paste with the clay that I shape into petals to make a flower. The time it takes for each design varies and a small pitcher can take about a day to finish.
"My family works as a team. My husband and my son prepare the clay and my two daughters help me apply the images.
"When I'm asked what inspires me, many people think my answer is funny but it's true. When I have the clay in my hands, everything flows — it's as if it moves on its own — and soon, my designs emerge. Each one is unique and decorative where I can apply my own personal touch to every detail.
"I like using materials from nearby communities to support our people. I believe without a doubt that the work I do attracts visitors to my town and this brings an economic benefit to all of us. I hope you like our work."