Macrina Mateo Martínez, Cooperativa Mujeres del Barro Rojo, Tlacoloula de Matamoros, Oaxaca
Macrina Mateo Martínez’ family has passed down their work in barro rojo (red clay) for over 20 generations — she began learning the process when she was eight years old.
Macrina has formed a cooperative of 15 women, Mujeres del Barro Rojo, located in the Zapotec community of San Marcos Tlapazola. The women of the village developed their craft as a way to trade and sell with neighboring towns for food and necessities.
The clay is mined by the women from the nearby El Picacho mountain. Vehicles cannot reach the red clay deposit so the women need to hike up, dig the clay and carry the clay bags back. Back in their home studios, the mined clay is processed to a workable state. Each piece is carefully hand built, meticulously burnished and then beautifully cured in an open fire. All women in the cooperative have knowledge of the entire production process.
There's no potter's wheel or kiln, just swift, precise movements of her fingers. With barely a glance at the clay, she quickly forms a simple but elegant pot for centuries fired in an open pit with the same technique that her Zapotec forebears have used for 3,500 years. Today, the cooperative fires their work in the unique “smokeless kiln” built for them by the Escuela Nacional de Cerámica, located in Tapalpa, Jalisco.
Their work has given them a worldwide reach from articles written about them in Bloomberg, the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times. The cooperative has garnered many prizes from various concursos (judged art show over the years.
Matamoros #18, San Marcos Tlapazola, C. P. 70400
Tlacoloula de Matamoros, Oaxaca
Fijo: (+52) 951 574 4201
Cel.: (+52) 951 326 2307
Facebook: Mujeres del barro rojo
Instagram : mujeresdelbarrorojo