Fernando Solis Luna Zinapecuaro, Michoacán

Fernando Solis Luna
Zinapecuaro, Michoacán

Martin Solis Hernández was born and raised in Zinapécuaro, Michoacán — he passed away in 2022. His son, Fernando Solis Luna, is passing on his father’s legacy by continuing to make utilitarian and decorative objects out of clay. Martin learned the art of working in barro (clay), which was his primary occupation when he married at the age of 18, started a family, and also had his parents relying on him for support. Poverty was his main motivation to earn a reputation so his work would sell. 

Fernando and other family members work together in their workshopTaller Solis Hernández. His love of creating objects out of clay is readily apparent as he describes working with his corazon (heart), utilizing his own imagination, creativity and intelligence.

He is from a multi-generational family who have also worked with clay. The technique that Fernando uses is pre-Hispanic — bruñido al negativo, esgrafiado bajo relieve or el decorativo en positiveBarro bruñido (burnished clay) is a kind of pottery that has been polished into a bright, fine sheen. Creating this effect requires the use of different tools such as a wood or stone polisher or even a corncob. The piece is massaged, rubbed and caressed until it shines.

Working in the negative requires the knowledge of a specialist craftsman, given the complexity and richness of form and decoration that is found on the pieces. First a box is built and filled with packed silt. With his hands and simple tools, he carves a design into the silt, which will become the exterior of the vessel. From there he pours slip (with roughly the density of a thick milk shake) into the carved cavity. The slip dries slightly over several hours until Fernando scoops out all the slip that is still liquid. When the clay has dried completely, he breaks the mold and has a completed green ware piece. 

Homemade kilns made of adobe and red bricks are used to fire their work at a “medium” temperature and wood is used as fuel.

Prolongaciòn de corregidora # 293

Col las Tinajas   

Zinapecuaro, Michoacán

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