Antonio de Jesús Díaz Medrano, Tonalá, Jalisco
A fifth generation ceramicist, Antonio de Jesús Díaz Medrano is from Tonalá, Jalisco. Since he was a child, he has been attracted to working with clay and has gained a reputation for the quality and personal techniques he uses in his barro bruñido ceramics (the final product is polished or burnished with a special stone to give it brilliance and clarity).
He belongs to a collective of 20 artisans, Herencia Milenaria, who have achieved exhibitions inside and outside the country and is a place for cultural activities of the Tonalá community.
His work comes from two emblematic expressions of traditional craftsmanship; from his father,. Roberto Díaz, he learned barro bruñido, and from his mother, María Refugio Medrano Lemus, he learned the colorful craft of barro betus (resin from the betul tree is extracted, mixed with egg whites and applied to the painted ceramics to give them their distinctive shine). It was in these two techniques that Antonio de Jesús found a channel of inspiration that led him to practice and try out new artistic possibilities, until he became an important figure in Jalisco's fame for its ceramics.
Working alone, Jesús gets his clay from nearby deposits of black, white and red clay with varying proportions of silica. The chunks of clay are broken up, ground into a powder and then sifted to remove impurities. Next water is added and the clay begins to "ferment" covered with plastic and set aside for several months.
Smoothed with stones after drying, a slip of pigment is applied to seal the pores of the clay as well as provide a background color. The paints are made by mixing clay and adding earth pigments.
After the slip has dried and the paints are mixed, the decoration (palmeado) is ready to begin. With an ensemble of brushes, some of animal hair, he begins with great skill painting the designs he is so well known for. The final burnishing may take a very long time in that the colors must be fixed well on the pot so they do not fade during the firing.
Two of Antonio de Jesús’ achievements in concursos (judged art shows) are:
First Place in the Galardón Jalisco 2018 in the category Traditional Ceramics. He represented Mexico in Bogota, Colombia in 2018, as the winner of "Visions of Mexico".
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