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Learning Community OF POTTERS CHAPTER I

The Pottery Learning Community was born as a training space where artisans share among themselves the knowledge accumulated over decades and then expand their skills to other fields of knowledge.

We started in 2017 building the foundations of the Community of Knowledge (his first name!) from local pottery knowledge, making it visible, documenting it in the context of environmental, social and political changes that affect the trade, in order to ensure its permanence and vitality.

During that year and part of 2018 we met for 6 sessions in Santa María Atzompa, in the space of maestro Juan Ruiz, which we had to adapt as a bedroom, kitchen and workshop. Each of the sessions had a development axis around which the activities and reflections revolved.


This first module (in CAMPO, AC) served to get to know each other and build trust, establish why we were in a Learning Community and what it meant, who we were and where we came from, what were the intentions of each one and the group agreements. We begin with the design activities proposal, studying the question, how do we drink? and at the end Rufina Ruíz de Atzompa shared her experience of researching and exploring to create new pieces.


We talked about local sustainability practices and strategies and the relationship between clay, environment and territory. We investigate and explore design to make the first proposals for a new product. Adrián Martínez de Atzompa shared knowledge about the land and its colors. To close, we carry out a fun analysis of the stages of pottery production through theater and clay.


The whole group made a visit to the IAGO library, to explore books on ceramics and design (for some it was the first time they had entered a library). We define needs and objectives (the avocados) from the Community and we explored the different concepts of creativity. Loving Pedro from Coyotepec shared with us knowledge about making flat pieces and the sense of innovation.

Session 4 | BODY

In this session we reviewed parts, body recognition exercises and the ergonomics of the object through the senses. We share knowledge about self-care and mapping the effects of work on the body. María and Esperanza Bautista from Amatenango shared their experience in the field, the construction of ovens and the empowerment of women in their community. Porfirio Gutiérrez from Teotitlán shared his experience as a migrant and textile artisan.

Session 5 | TRADE

We learned how to make an oven with a metal pot for tamales, guided by Juan Ruíz de Atzompa. We also did a value chain analysis, production costs and costing exercises for our parts. Also a map of priorities, expenses, and economic ailments. Macrina and Elia Mateo from Tlapazola shared their life experience as traditional potters and now as leaders in the community through courage, persistence and innovation.

Session 6 | FUTURE

We carry out a collective memory of the program, as well as an evaluation and mapping of the general scope. Juan Ruíz de Atzompa shared his experience as a student of Japanese ceramic masters, the discipline and the importance of investing in learning and we started the manual of good practices and advice. We had a product photography learning session with Fanel Reyes. And at the end we carry out an analysis and talk about successes, possible improvements and next actions.

In this first chapter participated 26 artisans and artisans of 6 pottery communities from Oaxaca and Chiapas and was possible thanks to the Coordination of the Pottery Learning Community, collaborators (Fábrica Social, María Jaime), volunteers (Bisila Noah, Betsy Red) and the Innovating the Tadition 2017 team.