MEET THE ARTISTS / CERAMICS
 

TERRACOTTA

The ArtisTS

[Santa María Atzompa]
The Blanco Family

  • Irma García Blanco
  • Leticia García Blanco
  • Fernando Félix Peguero García
  • Luis García Blanco

The Vásquez Family

  • Delfina Cruz Díaz and Ernesto Vásquez Reyes
  • Angélica Vásquez Cruz
  • Josefina Claudia Martínez Alarzón
  • Enedina Vásquez Cruz
  • Verónica Mariana Velasco Vásquez
  • Vilma Sandra Velasco
  • Antonia Nayeli Vásquez Velasco

The Velasco Villanueva Family

[San Antonino Castillo Velasco]
The García Family

  • José García Antonio
  • José Miguel García Mendoza
  • Sara Ernestina García Mendoza

[Oaxaca City]
Estebán Dalí Rodríguez Aguirre


Pueblo of Santa María Atzompa

 

The Blanco Family

(The late) Teodora Blanco Nuñez

Teodora Blanco (deceased in 1980) was a renowned artist whose tradition is carried out today in the work of her brother, two of her daughters and her son, and several of their children. Teodora became famous in her own lifetime for introducing a new style: highly imaginative muñecas (human doll-like figures), of which many variations have developed. Teodora’s signature pieces are fantastic and allegorical human-like figures bearing animal heads or horns, frogs and/or nursing children. She also pioneered a type of decoration called pastillaje, smaller pieces of clay superimposed on the surface of a figure to create patterns or add elements. Teodora’s influence extends well beyond the boundaries of her family. Aspects of her style were incorporated by many of her contemporaries, and continue to appear in the ceramics of subsequent generations.

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Irma García Blanco (daughter of Teodora)

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Pueblo of Santa María Atzompa
Avenida Juárez #302
(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-558-9286
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 558-9286

Irma continues to work in her mother’s tradition, especially in the creation of her large, majestic muñecas. She also favors altars with crucifixes, angels, virgins bearing angels, nativity scenes, and mermaids. Two other specialties are fountains and Tule trees (the famed gigantic tree in the pueblo of Santa María El Tule, due east of the city of Oaxaca,). These are decorated with elements from the seven regions of Oaxaca. Irma’s children carry on the family tradition as well. She feels that it is only in watching the process of creation that people can appreciate the beauty of the work, and the fact that it is done entirely by hand.


Leticia (Lety) García Blanco (daughter of Teodora)

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Pueblo of Santa María Atzompa
Avenida Juárez #109

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-558-9556
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 558-9556

Leticia specializes in small, imaginative, and well-crafted pastillaje and engraved figures, especially mermaids. She also makes women at market, angels with candlesticks, figures riding burros, and nativity and procession scenes. Lety deeply hopes that the children of Santa María Atzompa learn and perpetuate the ceramics tradition of their pueblo.  She fears that many do not cherish their ancestors’ life work as artisans.  Her son Fernando Félix is a rising star in ceramics.


Fernando Félix Peguero García (son of Alicia Leticia and grandson of Teodora)
[Winner, FOFA’s 2008, 2011 contests]  

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Pueblo of Santa María Atzompa
Avenida Juárez #109
peguero_10@hotmail.com

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-256-5404
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell: 044-951-256-5404
Cell to Cell: 951-256-5404
 

An extremely talented young man from this well-known ceramics family, Fernando began in his artistic career working in terracotta. However, he has transformed it into his own unique approach, while still communicating essential features of his Zapotec roots and pueblo culture. He creates a special charcoal gray tone through his firing technique, which he uses to produce traditional themes of the Day of the Dead and contemporary interpretations of nature. Fernando graduated from the Bellas Artes Academy in Oaxaca. After winning first prize in ceramics in FOFA’s 2008 and 2011 young artists’ contests, he gained national recognition as a ceramicist, painter, and graphic artist. He was awarded the 2014 national youth prize for distinction in artistic expression and popular arts, the highest public honor awarded to young Mexicans. The award citation recognized his dedication to artistic work that inspires his contemporaries, and exemplifies creativity, self-improvement and progress of the community. 


Luis García Blanco (son of Teodora)

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Pueblo of Santa María Atzompa
Avenida Libertad #502
teodorablanco@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-512-7942
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 512-7942

Luis perpetuates his mother’s tradition of terracotta figures combining human and animal features.  At the entry to his courtyard stands an impressive figure -- a human body with an animal head nursing an animal, and wearing a skirt covered with pastillaje, from which small animals, such as frogs, are suspended. The family’s special works are nativity scenes, mermaids and figures for contests, each “carrying a moment of our life.” Luis believes that he both conserves his mother’s style and develops new expressions and faces. His wife, María Rojas de García, with whom he works closely, was also taught by his mother but has similarly introduced her own ideas.


The Vásquez Family

This is an inspirational family. Master ceramicist Angélica Vásquez Cruz’s success has brought attention to and catalyzed the creative work of her talented parents, Delfina Cruz Díaz and Ernesto Vásquez Reyes. Enedina, Angélica’s sister, produces her own distinctive terracotta work, together with her daughters, Verónica Mariana and Vilma Sandra. Angélica lives outside of the center of Santa María Atzompa; Enedina, Verónica and Vilma Sandra are more centrally located, as are Delfina and Ernesto.

 

Delfina Cruz Díaz and Ernesto Vásquez Reyes

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Pueblo of Santa María Atzompa
Libertad #102

Contact their daughter Angélica (immediately below) regarding their work

This closely-knit couple has worked as a team throughout their more than 60 years of marriage.  Early in their careers they made the exclusively utilitarian pieces, such as pots for rice and beans, planters and incense burners for which Santa María Atzompa is well known.  However, in their early 40’s, Delfina and Ernesto started to create soulful human figures and large decorative jugs clad with small animals and flowers, some of which may be used as planters.  Their proud forms convey the vigor and vivaciousness of persons engaged in crucial everyday work.


Angélica Vásquez Cruz (daughter of Delfina and Ernesto)

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Pueblo of Santa María Atzompa
Avenida Independencia #637
vocesdelbarro@outlook.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-558-9061
Cell: 011-52-1-951-192-0149
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 558-9061
Landline to Cell: 044-951-192-0149
Cell to Cell: 951-192-0149

Angélica’s evocative and elaborately detailed terracotta pieces — heavily influenced by indigenous legends and Mexican history — have won contests and are highly sought by collectors. A staunch advocate of the rights and talents of women, Angélica’s preferred theme is women, their significance and their multiple life roles. She is an extraordinary raconteur who vividly relates her complex and moving history, and proudly explicates the themes and elements of her ceramic pieces. Surrounded by the trees and flowers that enchant her, Angélica pursues life as “a dream, a dance, a fair,” always alert to its new possibilities.
 


Josefina Claudia Martínez Alarzón (daughter-in-law of Angélica)
[Honorable mention, FOFA’s 2013, 2016 contests]

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Pueblo of Santa María Atzompa
Independencia #638 

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-349-8314
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell: 044-951-349-8314
Cell to Cell: 951-349-8314  

As a girl Josefina worked in her ancestors’ style, using green glaze on tan clay to make utilitarian pieces. When she married Ángel, son of renowned ceramicist Angélica Vásquez in 2008, her artistic world expanded dramatically. She experimented with new glazes and new figurative compositions, incorporating them within the traditions of her village. She also adopted the figural terracotta style of this family. In this piece a mother is portrayed transmitting her legacy of wisdom, traditions, and dreams to her twelve children, and in this way she buttresses their roots. Her ceramic figure is modeled entirely by hand and decorated with colors made from natural earthen substances.


Enedina Vásquez Cruz (daughter of Delfina and Ernesto)

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Pueblo of Santa María Atzompa
Libertad S/N (without number)
enedina_vasquez_cruz@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-545-9417
or 011-52-951-558-9011
(In Oaxaca) 545-9417 or 558-9011

Enedina Vásquez Cruz creates her original pieces with a loving spirit, taking pride in having broken from tradition and being original; she cites as one example the earthy colors made from natural substances which she applies to terracotta. Enedina has developed a reputation for her female figures dressed in costumes of the seven regions of Oaxaca, and her two-sided pieces treating historical and religious subjects. One features the birth of Mexico on one side, and the Virgin of Soledad on the other.


Verónica Mariana Velasco Vásquez (daughter of Enedina and granddaughter of Delfina and Ernesto)
[Honorable mention, FOFA’s 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016 contests]

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Pueblo of Santa María Atzompa
Libertad s/n
anairamvvv@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-558-9011
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 558-9011

Verónica is known for her interpretations of a wide range of religious themes, for which she has been awarded honorable mention in all of FOFA’s young artists’ competitions. “The Virgin of the Assumption” – the queen of heaven -- is central to life in Verónica’s pueblo and celebrated in an annual fiesta on August 15th, the culmination of a week’s events including processions of oversized papier mâché puppets and dancers in traditional costumes. Verónica began attending such events as a very young child. In her ceramic work the Holy Spirit is portrayed in the virgin’s crown, surrounded by cherubs to convey the importance of sustaining worship. Color effects are achieved with red and white clay, and new shades of brown derived from natural earthen substances (engobes). 


Vilma Sandra Velasco Vásquez (daughter of Enedina and granddaughter of Delfina and Ernesto)
[Honorable mention, FOFA’s 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016 contests]

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Pueblo of Santa María Atzompa
Avenida Libertad s/n
sandryvvv@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-558-9011
Cell: 011-52-1-951-343-8833
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 951-558-9011
Landline to Cell: 044-951-343-8833
Cell to Cell: 951-343-8833

Vilma learned to work in clay from her mother, and appreciates the perseverance essential to availing herself of this inheritance while also creating new designs and ideas. Specializing in miniatures, Vilma’s outstanding abilities have been recognized in all four FOFA young artists’ competitions, in which she has been awarded honorable mention. This piece was inspired by the Oaxacan dance festival Guelaguetza, in which Oaxaca’s villages come together in their traditional dress. She researched all the different costumes, the designs of the dresses, baskets, and men’s costumes, and faithfully reproduced each one. A woman’s skirt serves as background to these and others details that appear in miniature. Vilma captures the music and lively spirit with which dancers in the Guelaguetza come together.


Antonia Nayeli Vásquez Velasco
[Honorable mention, FOFA 2013 contest]  

Born to folk artist parents, Antonia began working at age five, playing with pieces and then creating them for sale. Always enhancing her ceramic work, she is motivated by contests and sales; it was extremely important to her to receive honorable mention in FOFA’s 2013 young artists’ competition. Antonia believes we must value the earth, and emphasizes the opportunity we have to create things with natural earth products, such as clay, molding the earth and creating things not yet conceived. Her piece is “a sphere encompassing the entire planet. Inside are human beings, ears of corn, women making tortillas, our craft, our clay. On the outside are the sun, the moon, and hands sheltering us”. 

Pueblo of Santa María Atzompa
Díaz Ordaz #607
naypez130683@outlook.es
(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-558-9490
Cell 011-52-1-951-252-4043
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 558-9490
Landline to Cell: 044-951-252-4043
Cell to Cell 951-252-4043


The Velasco Villanueva Family

Pueblo of Santa María Atzompa
Avenida Juárez #100
velo1204@hotmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-558-914
Cell: 011-52-1-951-355-1406
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 558-9146
Landline to Cell: 044-951-355-1406
Cell to Cell: 951-355-1406

Manuela Villanueva Vázquez continues the tradition innovated by her late husband, Joel Velasco, of filigree style decoration of ceramic miniatures (cups, saucers, teapots, bowls); boxes; animals; human figures; pendants; and bracelets. Filigree decoration is a detailed process that begins with drawing the desired pattern on the wet background of the figure. A sharp object, such as a needle or the antennae of a transistor radio is used. Then tiny pieces of clay of a different color are applied by hand to create the filigree effect. Prior to his death in 2006, Joel passed these techniques along to his wife and several of his children. 


Pueblo of San Antonino del Castillo Velasco

The García Family 

 

José García Antonio

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Pueblo of San Antonino del Castillo Velasco
Libertad #24
(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-539-6473
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 539-6473

José creates majestic terracotta figures inspired, he explains, by the beauty of Oaxaca and of his wife. Some examples are mermaids exquisitely decorated with superimposed or carved sun, moon, stars and foliage; and women bearing fish or flowerpots, many dressed in regional costumes. Despite having lost his eyesight, José continues to work with his wife, Teresita Mendoza Reyna Sánchez. Their home studio is filled to the brim with unpainted terra cotta treasures, ranging from small to nearly life-size. His works are primarily decorative, and often may be found gracing private gardens in Oaxaca.


José Miguel García Mendoza (son of José, Sr.)
[Winner, FOFA’s 2016 contest; Honorable mention, FOFA’s 2008, 2011 contests]

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Pueblo of San Antonino del Castillo Velasco
Libertad #24
josemiguelgarcia2010@gmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-539-6473
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 539-6473

José has continued his father’s tradition in terracotta ceramics. When his father made a large mermaid, José as a child would make a small one. When his father lost his sight and stopped working for a number of months, young José stopped as well; when his father resumed working, José started working again, focusing on his own designs, learning new techniques from his teacher, Armando. José earned First Prize in ceramics in FOFA’s 2016 young artists’ competition and honorable mention in ceramics in FOFA’s contests in 2008 and 2011. This piece represents his culture, identity and Oaxaca’s traditions in the front; the fossils convey Oaxaca’s history, including the distant past. An indigenous woman wears both a traditional shawl and a modern dress; her headgear represents ever-changing knowledge, and the child conveys what is new and evolving.


Sara Ernestina García Mendoza (daughter of José, Sr.)
[Honorable mention, FOFA’s 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016 contests]

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Pueblo of San Antonino del Castillo Velasco
Libertad #24
artesaragarcia@gmail.com

(From US) Landline: 011-52-951-539-6473
(In Oaxaca) Landline: 539-6473

Sara takes great pride in working in clay, which she regards as an inheritance from her father, the beloved master ceramicist of their pueblo. Her family digs their own clay from three feet underground on their own land, honoring their deep connection to Mother Earth. “Nature gives us life and the air we breathe,” Sara says, and “we must care for the earth and be sure that pollution does not prevent us from seeing the stars.” She has been awarded honorable mention in ceramics in FOFA’s 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2016 young artists’ competitions. Sara entitles her ceramic sculpture “Irreversible,” since she feels clay transforms things permanently. “We cannot go back in time. Although the branches are new growth, we should not lose sight of what came before, as represented by the woman’s braid and traditional shawl. She has her eyes closed, imagining what she hopes for and dreams of.” 


OAXACA CITY

Estebán Dalí Rodríguez Aguirre
[Honorable mention, FOFA’s 2016 contest]

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Oaxaca City
Prolongación Arteaga #513
Colonia Cinco Señores
dali_edra@hotmail.com

(From US) Cell: 011-52-1-951-207-0407
(In Oaxaca) Landline to Cell: 044-951-207-0407
Cell to Cell: 951-207-0407 

Estebán worked in silver and studied architecture before learning ceramics at the age of 25. Clay offers him freedom of expression that he did not find in the other media. This figure, for which he won honorable mention in FOFA’s 2016 young artists’ competition, is a tribute to his mother. Esteban began forming the sculpture as an image of Mother Earth, cradling and protecting her creation, using earthen colors. As he worked, he was reminded of his own mother who is a seasonal agricultural worker in Canada, where she cultivates flowers. In this graceful sculpture, she is the essence of life, embracing and protecting her beloved child.