One of the artists I visited in Oaxaca was Jose Garcia Antonio in San Antonino Castillo Velasco, Ocotlan. His large terra-cotta ceramic figures are stunning and the smaller mermaids with “pastillaje” (appliquéd flowers and foliage) are wonderful. I brought a couple home with me, one playing a violin and the other surrounded sweetly by an octopus.
Jose Garcia is almost blind. He sees through his fingers. “The truth is that I love my work and cannot give it up,” he told us.
When we visited he met us at his front gate with his wife, both dressed in traditional garb with huge smiles of welcome. The courtyard where he works is full of sculptures standing about in groups and there were also turkeys strutting their stuff. He demonstrated by building a pig which, when dried a bit would be burnished with a smooth stone, a piece of cloth or a corncob. After the burnishing it would be left in the shade to dry slowly and later moved into the sun to dry. Then it will be fired in a kiln for hours and left to cool slowly.
They are both filled with joy that their children are carrying on his tradition in ceramics.
There are also photos of his village: the domes of the church and a mural painted on a wall of the narrow street leading to his home. This is a tiny village in which our bus could not make a turn at the corner leading to his home and so we walked a couple blocks. The grandiose church spires were an amazing site.