Silvia Martínez Díaz, Santa María Tlahuiltoltepec, Oaxaca
From the earliest days in Santa Maria Tlahuiltoltepec, in the heart of the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, some of the early Mexican ancestors discovered "lugar frío" (the cold place or Tlahuiltoltepec) and the precious clay of this area from which they could make dishes and other items to be used in their homes.
One of the most recognized artists of this area is Silvia Martinez Diaz, who has maintained her lifestyle and traditions and continues to make her pre-Hispanic pottery as well as artwork representative of the era.
In particular, she makes 3 jugs with handles (agarras), which are made using a technique, rollo, - layers of clay are placed one on top of the other until the desired height and final volume is achieved. This particular characteristic is an important selling point for Silvia, because she makes very special pottery using ancestral techniques and has the mark of her personality and of the land where the clay is sourced near her village.
Silvia is Mixtec: men and women are connected by their race and ancestral customs which shows in her work with clay - as if they were made by the hands of her ancestors and turned into ornate objects.
She began working with clay as a child of about 12 years old, under the guidance of her mother, however, after she learned the basics, she taught herself. She is self-taught.
Silvia divides her life between her work in the fields and teaching art classes during the dry seasons. She also teaches pottery making at the local school.
Only 25 years old, Silvia has already won several awards for her work: 1996 Presidential Award for the National Ceramics Prize, San Pedro Tlaquepaque, Jalisco (first prize) and 2003 National Ceramics Competition Tonallan won 2nd place in traditional pottery.
Santa maria Tlahuitoltepec, Oaxaca