Innovando la Tradición, a creative platform for designers, artists and artisans to rethink and honor ceramic traditions of Oaxaca, Mexico, toured Belgium this summer bringing 132 pieces of their traditional pottery. Their exhibition Fire and Clay first opened as part of the 14th Biennial of Ceramics Andenne, then moved to Beaufort Beyond Borders, the triennial exhibition of contemporary art on the Belgian coast.
Rufina Ruiz, the maker of our popular chia planters, crossed the ocean as an ambassador of Mexican artisans to present her pottery skills in a series of workshops.
Born as the youngest sister of a large family of potters in Santa Maria Atzompa, where pottery has a 3,500-year history, Rufina is one of the pioneer potters there striving to preserve their heritage amidst the invasion of plastic products, the migration to big cities, the abandonment of the pottery business, and the growth of urban sprawl.
"It is an ideal time for these pieces to be displayed first in a context of handmade pottery, and then as contemporary art", says a member of Innovando la Tradición. The English edition of their first book Fire and Clay: The Art of Oaxacan Pottery was published this year for the Biennial of Ceramics Andenne, illustrating a panoramic vision of the past, present and future of pottery in Oaxaca, Mexico.
(Photos: Courtesy of Innovando la Tradición)
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With no written language, the Hmong people create intricate patterns on Batik textiles, and use them as story-telling devices.
The Nankeen dyeing technique, dating back 3,000 years, is native to China’s Jiangsu province. Known also as Lan Yin Hua Bu (蓝印花布) and Blue Calico, it’s still practiced traditionally today in a handful of small workshops. Using hand-cut paper screens, soybean paste thickened with lime, and natural indigo dye, artisans print contemporary versions of ancient patterns on locally-grown cottons and linens outside the city of Shanghai.