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six villages study tour

updated fri 23 oct 98


Rachel and Eric on thu 22 oct 98


An in-field overview of traditional, Southern Mexican, indigenous pottery
and introduction to the master trade potters of the region. A variety of
currently practiced, pre-Colombian potting methods will be observed with a
special focus on distinctive low-firing methods and non-glaze surface
decoration. This will be backed by an introduction to master potters working
within a continuous and ancient tradition of functional pottery. The history
of Southern Mexican pottery and cultures will also be examined in order to
place the pottery within its historical framework. There will also be
discussions about the place of these potters and pottery in modern society.

Through a study of the wheelless hand forming techniques we will see some
of the possibilities that can be achieved with an absolute simplicity if
tools and a high level of practiced skill. Additionally we will see the
variety of glazeless finishes that can be had through such techniques as
burnishing, slipping, scraping and vegitable staining.
The firings present an interesting and ancient alternative to more familiar
methods. Of interest are again the simplicity of equipment necessary as well
as the quickness of the firing and the effect of the process on the overall
finish of the pot.
Both the pottery and potters exist in a living tradition that brings to
life the roots of pottery in general: pottery that is made for the most
necessary of functions and that serves the local community. Through
observing this we can gain perspective and deeper understanding of our own
relationship with clay.

The Six Villages Study Tour is based out of Oaxaca, Mexico and is
eight days in duration. The trip cost is $670. This includes hotel, most
meal and museum fees. Our groups are limited to six participants to maximize
the quality of the trip.
Session #1 Nov 30th-Dec 7th
Session #2 Jan 25th-Feb 1st

Please e-mail for further details
Rachel Werling
Eric Mindling
Manos de Oaxaca
AP 1452
Oaxaca, Oax.
CP 68000
fax 011 52 (952) 1-4186