Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tonala Black Clay Pottery

Small Black Clay Vessel

La Familia Mateos
The Mateos family has been making Tonala black clay
pottery for several decades.  They work in a home studio
space that is delightful, and many members of the family
participate in the various steps.

Each vessel is coated before it is fired.
The brush is cloth.
I have put some pictures below to share the process with you.
There are many steps in the production of these exquisit vessels.

The process begins by mixing several clays together to get a clay
maleable enough to allow the shaping as well as the etching of each individual piece.
Eusebio begins to form the clay by hand.
The vessel is made in
two pieces
The pieces are united to
form the vessel
Rigoberto combines parts
that make the shape.
He then removes imperfections and adds or subtracts decorative elements.
The vessels are placed in the sun to dry.
After they have dried sufficiently they are ready
to work.
The vessel is then rubbed with a small river stone, using water, to eliminate the roughness, polishing the surface.
When the vessel has been
polished smooth and shiny, it is covered with an earthtone, like a terra cotta.
It is then covered with an animal fat to preserve the shine on the pot and allow the design to be rapidly cut into the vessel.
The design is then cut into
the vessel.
When the vessels are ready
they go to the kiln.
Several pieces are put into
the kiln at one time.
The vessels are turned frequently.
They are covered with
Eucalyptus leaves to give them the rich black color.
When the fire has burned out the vessels are cleaned.
The result is an exquisit
Tonala black clay vessel.

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