I mentioned my tour to San Bartolo Coyotepec at the beginning of December. During the tour, I was shown the process of black pottery making. On Tuesday, I had the chance to see a more formal demonstration by the grandson of Dona Rosa, the woman who discovered the process of polishing the black pottery with granite.
He is a proud family member and explained that there are five grandchildren (and their families) working in the family business. They have a large shop, and they create both artistic and practical pieces in all shapes and sizes. I was especially impressed by their large jewelry collection which is the barro negro combined with silver.
You’ll see Malia Obama in the last photo; she toured in March 2012. One of the people watching the presentation commented on how clean our presenter’s shirt was. He admitted that he has a shirt to wear for presentations, that when he’s regularly working his shirt is not so clean.
What amazed me about the process is that most of the tools were made out of clay themselves (the “wheel” and the smoothing tools in particular. And, the other pieces — a knife and a stick — are simple. Just add water and incredible talent.