Lisa Orr and The Pineapples of Patamban and San José de Gracia

I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Lisa Orr last year at the Terracotta Warriors session at Watershed. I came away inspired by her passion for clay. Rarely have I spent time in the studio with someone who funnels such a child-like exuberance for making. It was infectious. She seems to balance pushing her creative boundaries with making work that is marketable. While we were there She and Sean O'Connell were collaborating on a large Oyster tray. It was a three tiered tray with individual place holders for the oyster shells. Each place holder had sprigs and slip trailing all over them. It was amazing to say the least. It was nice to see this form being built from smaller sections that were attached together.

Lisa has produced two videos on Mexican Folk pottery. The DVD Pineapples of Patamban and San Jose de Gracia is well worth the $45.  http://www.potteryofmexico.com/ After seeing the first one I became very interested in a style know as "pineapple pottery". These terracotta jars are covered with sprigged additions. They are highly ornate forms complemented by a green or yellow translucent glaze. While I was in Philly for NCECA I stumbled across a few pieces at Eyes Gallery on South Street. http://www.eyesgallery.com/ The place had the feel of a thrift store. There were shelves packed with pots, textiles, and wood. It was a treasure trove of folk inspiration. Check it out if your ever in the area.
A statement about the documentary.
"Pottery has been made both for use and decoration in Mexico since pre-columbian times, and in many villages the same methods and traditions are still in use today. Michoacán state, located in the southwestern part of Mexico, is especially rich in crafts-producing villages each one with its unique product. Most work is for local consumption though some produce grander works for a wider audience. In this video, a potter and a filmmaker work together to beautifully document potters in two neighboring villages: Patamban and San José de Gracia.
This documentary covers how the potters produce their low-fire pieces from start to finish. Local clay is collected, processed, shaped in bisque molds, embellished with applied sprig textures, and then fired in wood-burning kilns. The film also revels a culture of sustainability in which each generation gathers its materials locally and creates tools from what is at hand."

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