Erik Vásquez Hernández y Reyna Hernández Santiago, Naolinco, Veracruz

Erik Vásquez Hernández y Reyna Hernández Santiago, Naolinco, Veracruz

Erik Vázquez Hernández is the fourth generation of his family working in clay. He was  born in the community of San Miguel Aguasuelos, Naolinco in the state of Veracruz. His father was Totonaco (Veracruz) and his mother Náhuatl (San Luis Potosí). He attributes his ability to work with clay to his wise mother, who taught him his craft and to respect mother earth.

At the age of six, Erik watched his grandmother instruct his mother in the process of preparing the clay, first pulverizing the pieces taken from the earth and then adding water to the powder to make a smooth textured clay. He also watched as, with patience and dedication, she brought the clay to life, shaped the figures, etc. and finally learned how to bake her work.

Erik has been formalizing his own style and techniques. He uses a natural white clay extracted from a mine near his home. In the modeling process, he uses different techniques, such as the application of fine pastillage (small pieces of raised clay). When the piece is burnished, the decorations are carved by hand and sometimes given a lace-like texture (filigree). The last step is to add natural color to the piece by means of a slip (aqueous clay) and/or to add the texture achieved by using mineral oxide extracted from a ravine near the city. The color of the slip is similar to terracotta or deep orange; they are applied before the piece is fired.

Erik credits his older sister for initiating the family's participation in competitions both locally and nationally, where they won awards that have helped raise awareness of their work and income. At age 16, she won her first national award at the Gran Premio Nacional de Arte Popular in Mexico City.

The tradition of working in clay has been in Erik's family for over 100 years and in 2000, it was near extinction with only 12 potters, including his mother, who continued the trade. Fortunately, they weathered this bad patch and recovered. Now there are 32 families interested in preserving the pottery legacy of Naolinco, Veracruz.

Susana works with the help of her husband in Naolinco. They have a small store where they sell the work that Susana has been perfecting for 20 years. She learned from her mother, who in turn learned from her grandmother on her father's side.

Susana has obtained 37 certificates and awards from regional, state and national competitions.

Calle 5 de febrero Exterior 20-BIS

Colonia el Chorro in Naolinco, Veracruz

228 202 8485 casa; 228 593 1425 y 228 150 4753 celulares