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Artist Profile: Louis Blanco

Aug. 06, 2003 10:06 AM | Author: J. Russell | Updated: Aug. 06th, 2003 10:08 AM

 

Fiesta Mexicana is pleased to announce that Louis Blanco, an accomplished artisan from Atzompa, Mexico will participate in Fiesta Mexicana 2003. Louis Blanco and his wife Maria Rojas live and work in the village of Atzompa, just a few minutes from the center of Oaxaca. Louis learned the process of creating red and green pottery from his mother, Teodora Blanco, an award-winning artist. He and his family continue the traditions learned from Louis’ mother in creating pots, statues, nativity sets, miniature bands, water spouts, and figurines. Two popular designs are the Virgin of Soledad and the Sirens of the Sea

The family lives and works in a modest home. Most of the work is done outside, the shaping of the clay in the shade, and the drying, glazing, and firing in the sun. The clay itself comes from San Lorenza Cacaotepec. Once Louis has the clay, it is mixed with water and then cured for one week before it is used.

Each piece is carefully shaped by hand, and great care is taken to prevent the pieces from breaking. For the larger pieces, the base must be carefully constructed and then allowed to dry before the rest of the work is added, otherwise the base will collapse and the time and effort will be lost. Large pieces can take up to three or four twelve-hour days to construct.

Once the piece is complete, it must dry for several days. Then the figure is fired in the kiln for three or four hours at 900-1000 degrees Celsius. After the initial firing, some pieces are painted with colored glazes and fired again. The complexity of the process makes creating red and green pottery both difficult and rewarding. Each piece is unique; each pattern is original.

Louis and Maria are teaching the art to their children. Their daughter Ardriana, currently studying graphic design at the MesoAmericana University, works side-by-side with her parents to create the pottery. In this way the children learn a valuable craft, and the cultural heritage is preserved for future generations.

Louis is looking forward to his visit to Valley City. Be sure to attend the Fiesta and greet him in the City Auditorium, September 25, 26, and 27, 2003. Visit the Fiesta Mexicana web page for more photos and information: www.fiestamexicana.org

 

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