Ana María is the maker of the beautiful cups and containers in the Miha Cara Collection. We joined her in the family workshop in the town of Santa Maria Atzompa to learn more about the process.
This conversion has been translated from Spanish.
Here in the workshop I get to be with my family, I work with my sons and daughters, my sisters and even my little grandchildren. My parents, my grandparents, and many generations before them have worked with clay.
I started to learn how to work with clay when I was very young. You start as a child just playing with it and then eventually you start forming pieces after the ones you see your elders making. Eventually the forms start to take shape, you learn to use the wheel, and later the kiln.
The clay we use comes from a place about five km outside of the town. It is communal land and only the locals have rights to harvest the clay there. This clay is dark gray when it comes from the earth, but after it’s been cooked in the kiln it has a cream or orange color. There are different techniques we can use to alter the color, but it’s all natural. Using firewood for the traditional kiln and smoke leaves their mark on a piece as well.
The design of the cara (face) that you see on these cups are traditional. There is an archaeological zone here by the town, and there have been cups found with the same face. You can go to the museum there and see them!
Everything made in the workshop is handmade, we don’t use any machines or molds. I like when people come to visit and they can see for themselves that everything is made by hand, there are no chemicals, it’s a totally natural process.
My wish is that my family doesn't ever lose this knowledge. I hope my grandchildren and their children follow in this line of work as well.