Manos de Mexico is dedicated to fostering a greater understanding of Mexican folk art through artist in residencies featuring award-winning folk artists. The artists demonstrate such crafts as wood carving, mask making, ceramic sculpture, weaving and yarn painting. Each year artists travel to New England to demonstrate their craft in local schools and select Margaritas Mexican Restaurant locations.
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Adelina Pedro Martínez and Federico Negrete Lopez were born in San Bartolo Coyotepec, in the valley of Oaxaca, located near the city of Oaxaca. They are of Zapotec decent and their barro negro art represents their indigenous identity.
Barro negro “black clay” is a style of pottery from Oaxaca, Mexico, distinguished by its color, sheen and unique designs. Oaxaca is characterized by the continuance of its ancestral crafts, which are still used in everyday life. The origins of barro negro pottery extend over centuries, with examples of it found at a number of archeological sites, fashioned mostly into ceremonial and utilitarian items.
The method of processing the clay is a traditional pre-Hispanic method. The clay is extracted from a spot near the village and is especially prepared. Before a piece is fired, it dries and then the decorations are applied and prepared for firing in a wood fired subterranean kiln. When it is fired, the clay takes on the black metallic color caused by reducing oxygen in the kiln.