Sleek, Functional Contemporary Oaxaca Pottery with Classical Influences: Innovating Tradition

Oaxaca’s cultural identity is defined, in part, by her ceramic arts. For thousands of years before the Spanish conquest, indigenous artisans were giving shape to local clay to form functional cooking and eating vessels, images of dieties for worship and jewelry for personal adornment.

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Now, after six years of operating from various temporary locations, La Tiendita del Barro/1050 grados and Innovando la Tradicion recently opened a gallery to promote its ceramic arts cooperative and new eco-tourism program. It is located at the corner of  plaza de la cruz de piedra, Rufino Tamayo 800-C and Xolotl, near the 16th century aqueducts and Calle Garcia Virgil.

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I want to say that this is social entrepreneurism, activist art. The program, developed by talented young Oaxaqueños, is committed to sustainable development.  Here you will find stunning pottery that satisfies both a classical and contemporary aesthetic. The work is sculptural and refined, smooth and simple. Emphasis is on form followed by function. The result is timeless beauty. The cookware and serving pieces are lead-free and can be used over a gas burner or in the oven.

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If you’ve never seen a Oaxaca potter at work, here’s a video of a traditional technique:

Rufina Ruiz haciendo una chilmolera from Innovando la Tradición on Vimeo.

Innovando la Tradicion is organizing half-day public tours to various villages, where visitors will meet potters, participate in hands-on demonstrations, and have an opportunity to buy directly from the artisans. Artisans receive 50% of the participant fees that go toward improving their workshop/studio space. The rest goes toward program administration.

                 Join Norma’s Pottery Tour with Innovando la Tradicion                                 Monday, January 5, 2015, Cost: 629 MXN pesos

I can’t participate in any of the January public programs already scheduled and I really want to go on this tour.  So, I’m inviting YOU to join me for a private tour on January 5.  Are you interested?  Send me an email. All the funds go directly to Innovando la Tradicion and I will send you registration information as soon as I hear from you!  Space for 5 people. Reserve before December 15.

1050 Mezcal Cups


Oaxaca Portrait Photography Workshop starts January 30. Join us!

6 responses to “Sleek, Functional Contemporary Oaxaca Pottery with Classical Influences: Innovating Tradition

  1. Norma – you have no idea how much I look forward to your newsletter every
    week. You write such interesting articles and your photos are out of this world.

    Thanks so much. Susanne

  2. Beverly in Connecticut

    I stumbled upon their gallery while returning from the Friday organic market
    when we were in Oaxaca for Muertos. Stunning mat black pottery dinnerwear!
    Glad to see that you are recovering from your surgery and apparently raring to go!!

    • I’m so glad you found them. Hopefully, more people will stumble upon this sweet gallery and the talented young people who operate it. I’m still house-bound, recovering from the surgery. Have huge issues with cabin fever, so raring to go is where my mind is at and my body is waiting to catch up. Thanks for encouragement!

  3. Isn’t Innovando Tradiciones exceptional!!!!
    I met Marie in Santa Fe during Indian Market Aug.2014 …and then I looked her up in Oaxaca where she was newly employed at IT. Luckily Los Amigos de Arte Popular were showing up for Muertos and I was able to hook them up for a possible sizable grant for one of IT projects. I love it when things like this work out!
    Wish I could go on the tour…

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