Meet the Artisan

Cecilio Sanchez Fierro

I started my artisan career at the young age of 8 years old. My mom and my dad worked with mud and I was their helper, they were the ones that taught me the trade. What I liked the most was the satisfaction to see the pieces that my siblings created, they were so beautiful too me. My grandfather was also dedicated to this, he was a pottery artisan and I loved to see how he burned the mud.

I have taken some courses in lacquer and shades, but it was really time and experience that taught me what I know. I studied until high school because we didn`t have the resources to finance my education. I think I would liked to study Fine Arts. In the artesanias (Mexican folk art) I try to create a piece that will make me feel proud that even when I did not had an opportunity to go to school, still I can be a good artisan that creates  beautiful pieces.


The Trade

I been working for 12 years with artesanias. When you start, you can not only make one type of pieces, you have to evolve. As you grow as an artisan and as a person, is when you have the abilities to actually participate with your creations in contest to show what you got. My first pieces where made out of a mold, after time I got the curiosity to start making “arboles de la vida” (a theme of clay sculpture) with my brothers. Later on, I began to specialize in miniature and lately I work with different sizes, the smallest of them is 7 centimeters. This is the satisfaction that I have, to create minimal pieces with mud that is a moldable material that allows us to create with no size limit.


Pigmented Mud Technique

The pigmented clay technique is an invention that we created. We are the only ones that have this particular kind of work, it’s a family creation. This is an antique technique, that no one uses it but us. It all began with the curiosity of my mom’s brother, uncle Adrian Fierro, he ask my dad if he could dye mud and burn it, to see what came out. My dad tried the trick too but colors seem to disappear. It was until my brother Rodolfo and I got the opportunity to take lessons in FONART that we practice that and other ideas that we were curious about. We practice it and some colors came out and others faded, not all shades have the same resistance, but since we like the result we keep on practicing until they were perfected. We lost a lot, but after many tryouts the results were worth it. The hardest part it to calculate the ideal amount of pigments, you have to be very precise.

The idea of the technique was to create ochre colors, not bright ones. We love prehispanic shades that have no brightness in them. We wanted to create something that looked old and fine, and each piece goes through a particular process to avoid bright shades.

With this technique I won a 1st price in a contest, I was not a big amount of money but my piece is now a part of the City Council Museum, La Casa del Artesano.


The Family Tradition

No one works alike in our family. They can say that they are similar pieces, but it is completely different the technique that each member uses. Everyone has unique ideas, painting and creating style.

Something that I can say about my work is that I create my own molds. They are different faces, and decorations. I make the molds to facilitate my job, if a client comes and wants 10 pieces with the same style, this makes my work more practical and at some point affordable.

In the case of my family, we cannot say that we make a living out of the artesanias, is more like we survive. We sell our creations in our workshop and in the local market. We want to preserve this tradition that comes from past generations.

I feel really proud of the fact that I have been awarded in more than 12 different times in different places and contests, nationally and internationally.

I would like to see the people appreciating what we artisans do. Some clients don`t know what we have to do in order to deliver a particular piece, to me an artisan that sells an expensive piece is not stealing, because he is selling a piece of his life, and an extension of his body. What he sells is a creation that he did with all his heart, sight and hands.

Cecilio Sanchez Fierro collection

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