Elena Felipe and Bernardina Rivera


Born out of Huáncito, Michoacán, Elena and Bernardina get down to Earth making traditional don Vasco de Quiroga inspired pottery, but these pots reach for the heavens in their towering statures. Quiroga introduced the region to a potter’s wheel and invited them to create jugs to transport and store liquid in times of scarcity.

This later evolved into the creation of towers permitting greater volumes of water to be stored in small areas within each home. Both Purépecha women were brought up with clay, as they instill within their new generation of children.

They obtain the clay from communal lands, excavated with picks, shovels, and buckets. The clay is then left outside to cry, later crushed with heavy stones. It is then ground, sieved, and re-moistened to be sealed in plastic. The following day the mixture is needed to eradicate air bubbles and other impurities. They take out balls of clay from the pile and morph them into “pancakes”. They are put into two molds which will later be joined together. They are then dried, given a coat of charanda, and polished. Brushes constructed from wood and cat hair are employed for painting the final coat of decorative paint, lastly they are fired to complete the piece.