Beautiful hand-worked clay pieces by master potter Don Nicolás Fabián Fermín. Don Fermin works on the pottery with his wife, María del Rosario. They live and work in Santa Fe de la Laguna, a small Purhepecha village located on the shores of Lake Patzcuaro in the Mexican state of Michoacán.
Don Fermín learned to make ceramic vessels from his family at an early age, as both his parents worked in the traditional lead-glazed methods known in the village. Lead is no longer used, due to its adverse health effects, so today Fermín works by carving designs directly into a burnished clay surface. The ceramic pieces are then fired in a wood kiln for 3 hours reach a temperature of 600-700 degrees centigrade. If Don Fermín wants the pieces to come out black, he uses sawdust to create an oxygen reduction atmosphere during the firing. After firing, he rubs wax over the surface to give it a shiny effect that replaces the previously used lead glazes.
It is common to see the work of the Fermíns adorning home altars for the village’s Day of the Dead ceremonies. They are also used to decorate chapel shrines; notably, the Fermín family erected a retablo at the entrance to the town’s main church that was made of approximately 150 clay fish, birds, flowers, leaves, and plates, representing more than a month of work!
Whether you're displaying fruit in them, or using them for storing keys and keepsakes, these pieces here have a timeless feeling.
Sizes listed are approximate, as each piece is handworked and one-of-a-kind.