A Tribute to Potter Dolores Porras, a Documentary Movie by Michael Peed

Dolores Porras -- The Movie -- DVD Cover

I want to tell you that Michael Peed has made a remarkable, endearing, engaging, and beautiful film about Dolores Porras and her pottery.  Michael is the perfect person to have made this documentary because he is a potter himself.  That is why the narrative is laced with terrific explanations of the pot-making process, how the clay is made, wedged, formed, dried to leather hard, decorated, then fired.  What I really loved about this 31-minute movie is that interspersed between the interviews with Dolores that Michael (Miguel) did over the years, are magical scenes of Oaxaca street life, music, festivals, markets, and the jumble-bump of an unsteady cinema verite that represents the hubbub and vagaries of Oaxaca life.

What I really love is how Michael explains clay.  You know he is knowledgeable, that he was a university professor, and you can trust his narrative.  Yet, he is not pedantic in his descriptions.  His narrative is warm and engaging and he captures Dolores perfectly.  You really get a sense of her origins, life in a small Zapotec village, the history of the village as it related to the magnificent political center of Monte Alban (now a major mesoamerican archeological site), and the defined roles of women in the art of pottery making.

The other really charming and delightful part of the movie is the involvement of Dolores’ entire family in the pottery making process.  You see her home, her children, her animals, and the larger environment of which she was a part.

I met Dolores just three years before she died in November 2010.  This film gave me the perspective I was lacking to see Dolores as a younger woman, vibrant, creative, and innovative.  I am grateful to Michael for making this film and I hope you will take the opportunity to purchase the DVD from him and see it yourself.

If you love Oaxaca and indigenous arts and crafts, you will not be disappointed.  If you want to know more about traditional pottery, this is a perfect film for you.

In homage to Dolores Porras, and in tribute to my dad, also a fine potter.

To order, contact Michael Peed:  imdeep@earthlink.net

Dolores Porras 2010

12 responses to “A Tribute to Potter Dolores Porras, a Documentary Movie by Michael Peed


  2. norma, i did buy a copy of the dolores porras dvd and watched it last night. i loved it!

  3. thank you, norma, for telling us about this remarkable film on dolores porras. i only know about dolores from your website and now more from michael peed. it is wonderful that we stayed at las golondrinas and actually saw some of her pots!

    • Carolyn, if you have a chance to see Muchael’s film I know you will ove it. It totally captures the sights and sounds of Oaxaca. How fortunate that you enjoyed Dolores’ work displayed at Las Golondrinas. Now, it could be a destination just to see examp,es of her work. Abrazos, Norma

  4. I have a copy that I bought from Michael last month, it’s great!

    • Julie, that’s wonderful. I know I’m going to watch this movie many times over. My husband Stephen saw it last night and was blown away by its sensitivity. To watch Dolores’ face as she sculpts the clay is amazing. And, those close ups of her hands shaping the lip of the pot and using a gourd to trim the clay is magnificent. A great study in ancient pottery techniques alive and well today.

  5. Dad, being a potter himself, dear Norma, would have busted his buttons
    knowing that you were facilitating the advancement of an ancient
    art form at this time of your creative life. Love, Mama

    • Hi, Mom — Dad would have loved the folk pottery of Oaxaca. It is another variation of one of his favorite Pueblo potters, Maria Martinez. This tribute to Dolores Porras is a fine example of what the life of potters is like around the world — lovingly teasing, hugging, and cajoling the clay into forms that are functional, pleasing, and beautiful. The trick, of course, is that nothing happens in the firing to destroy the effort. Thanks for adding your comments — I truly appreciate it. Love, Norma

  6. Thank you, Norma, for posting this…Michael is a dear friend of mine; we met in Oaxaca at Las Golondrinas many years ago….and Dolores was very special to me. I met her 20 years ago, on my first trip to Oaxaca. Have made at least 2 – 3 trips each year since.
    Would you consider posting anything about my trips to Oaxaca…please see my website!
    I enjoy each and every one of your posts….thank you!
    Nancy Hirsch

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