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the san marcos workshop

updated tue 28 sep 99


Rachel and Eric on mon 27 sep 99

The San Marcos Workshop. Oaxaca, Mexico.
December 6-11
limit 8 participants

The San Marcos Workshop takes us into the world of Pre-Columbian
Mesoamerica for a week with her ancient potters. This is time travel. San
Marcos of today is as San Marcos of 1,000 years ago. It is a village of
Zapotec potters located in the central valley of Oaxaca, once the seat of
the great Zapotec civilization. Still home to thousands of traditional
Zapotec Indians. Ours is the rare and honored opportunity to step into this
world, not just to see it but to immerse ourselves in it.
We will work with masters and we will work with clay. We will dig
that clay raw from the earth and turn it into workable material. We will
form pots following the deceptively simple, wheeless technique of the San
Marcos potters. Gourd, corn cob, stone and practice. Those are their tools
and will be ours. Then slip and burnish, and finally fire! Out of a
carefully built and tended bonfire will emerge our work, firmed and scalded
by the flames. We will have made these pots, made them just as they were
made a thousand years ago.
But the San Marcos Workshop isn't just about clay. We are there to
work with clay, to make pots and fire. But there is more. We are also there
to learn about people, about how wide the world is, about different ideas
and ways of being on this same globe. To an extent the clay is just an
excuse. It is something to do with our hands while we get to know each
other. The clay serves as a common ground, a shared point of interest
through which people form two very different cultures can comfortably become
familiar with one another. We work together, with success and frustration,
we eat, rest, talk and laugh together. Always working with clay, but also
always working with people. And in this, for a moment, for a week, we are
immersed into the world of San Marcos and ancient Mesoamerica. We live it
from the inside, feel it and understand it.

Please contact me for more information about the San Marcos Workshop.
Eric Mindling
Oaxaca, Mexico