Francesca Martinez Aragón and her sister Angela are potters. They live in the house their family has lived in for generations turning the red clay that is unique to San Marcos Tlapazola into ollas, comales, cazuelas, floreros and platos. They work in a manner that has not changed for hundreds of years.
Nearly all of women of San Marcos work clay. Francesca is the president of the local
|Francesca & Angela Aragón|
All of the materials used are local. The woman go with wheelbarrows to get the red clay, the pigment, and fine sand used in their pots. They do not have kilns, instead the pots are low-fired in the courtyard of the property using local firewood. Pots are covered with wood and remain in the fire for two hours. They are then polished using the special family stones.
|Doña Maria Aragón Morales|
Francesca and Angela began to work clay at a very young age. They were taught by their mother and grandmother. Their mother still makes plates and comales in her old age. Men do not work clay; they are campesinos and plant corn and other crops to feed their families. Their father, Antonio, worked the fields with his team of oxen and a wooden plow until two years ago. Besides the clay work, the women also help in the fields planting beans for the family table.
So they go on working as they always have, shaping the rich, red clay of San Marcos, planting their corn and black beans, and selling enough to pay the bills. It is as if the red clay runs through their veins and nourishes their soul. Their life is so interconnected with the soil that they do not notice time pass. Their entire life is hecho a mano, not just their pots.