Miguel Molino Martínez, Cocucho, Michoacán
The large pots, known as cocuchas, are named for their place of origin. Cocucho is a Purépecha town far away in the state of Michoacán. These giants of the ceramic world are basically coil pots, some measure up to 1.50 mt. tall and are made entirely by hand, without the use of wheels or molds. Cocucho pots have been made for over 300 years. Their size, shape, and finish are determined by the artistry of the people who make them. Because of their dramatic impact, cocuchas are often used as focal points in gardens and entryways.
The real art in making these huge vessels is in "burning" them. After being forged and finished, the pot sits in the fathoms of a wood fire and is covered with a tent. It is then left in the proper position for an hour or more, sometimes up to four hours. The next step is critical: the pot must be removed from the fire at exactly the right time, or it will crack.
Two types of cocuchas are made, black and red. The black finish is obtained by splashing or brushing a cornmeal solution over the pot immediately after it has been burned. Red cocuchas are made by smearing a layer of red clay before firing, allowing the pots to cool without adding other glazes or colors.
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