About the Artisan
How It's Made
First, the clay is excavated from local riverbeds by men in the Chenautla area and purchased by Doña Vilma. The clay is initially in the form of hard rock, so Vilma and her sisters mix the rock with sand and water until it is soft enough to mold. Each piece is then hand sculpted, dried in the sun, painted with a red clay slip, polished and fired. The firing process involves placing the objects on a grate above a pine bark fire and then covered with grass for 2-3 hours. The occasional black spot can sometimes be found, and is tribute to this ancient firing process. It is not an imperfection, but a natural part of the firing process caused by the pine, and adds to the uniqueness of each piece.