Meet the Artisan

Magdalena Pedro Martinez

Dark mud dressed as a proud tehuana, elegant tuxtepecana, smiling mixteca dancer or china oaxaqueña in the hands of Maria Magdalena Pedro Martinez, exceptional ceramic artist of San Bartolo Coyotepec.

Coming from an outstanding family of potters, she dig in the memories and stories of her grandmother to rescue the details of the traditional Oaxaca dressing, particularly in the one of her town. At 19 years old she began officially working with mud.

Using dark clay of San Bartolo, Magdalena, professional doctor, has developed a wide spread of feminine figures of the 8 regions of the state, in which she portraits from ancestral huipiles y enredos to rebozos y peinados (all traditional covers and wraps). It is astonishing that even with the lack of color of the figures they are able not only to display but to shine around all their details and minors, like movements and body attitudes, in a contrast game.

To do so, a process of elaboration equally detailed is required: after of mixing mud, Magdalena shapes faces and continues with body parts to give shape and movement to the clothes; the accessories (braids, laces, ribbons, necklaces, and bracelets) are added like a fine work that displays her knowledge of Oaxaca’s traditions. She goes on with assembling the pieces once they are dry. To make them soft and to reach the shades that will display the details, she polishes the figures and burnishes them with quartz, that gives the final touch of shine and contrast that distinguishes her work. Once they are dry, they are burnished again to reach the black shining matte. Lastly, in the baking process that lasts 8 hours in an oxygen reduced atmosphere, the darkness of the black clay will be intensified.

As time goes by, Magdalena Pedro Martinez decided that her creations will be a register of the regional Oaxacan dressing, with the finality to preserve them and make them known. Stands out the beauty of her pieces, which she creates with lots of details and flair. Since 1996, some of this pieces have been a part of the Collection of Cultural Development Banamex. Magdalena also creates trees of life, everyday life scenes, mermaids, births, and catrinas (elegant skulls).


Magdalena Pedro Martinez collection

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