Hilario Alejos Madrigal
Learning from Elisa Madrigal Martínez, his mother and creator of the infamous Carapan pineapple, Hilario uses an unsullied appliqué technique, of which has brought him international acclaim. He has passed this knowledge down his children, four of whom carry on the tradition, crafting their own styles as they go.
Aside from his most popular piece, the pineapple, Hilario also constructs punchbowls, candelabras varying in size. He works full time with ceramics, as this trade is his main source of income.
At his San José de Gracia workshop he employs traditional techniques of working the clay. Typically within this region of Michoacán, a group of men extract chunks of earthen clay with picks and shovels, transporting the material back via mule/burros. Once in the workshop the clay is cleaned, grinded down into a fine powder, sifted, and wetted. For his pieces, modeling and molding techniques are utilized; specifically for his pineapples an extremely elaborate appliqué technique is necessary to attain realistic texturing.
Once pieces are formed, they are placed inside the house or workshop to dry, covered in damp canvas or plastic to protect it from air currents. Eventually, in drying process the pieces are moved out in the sun to dry. Once completely dry, the pieces receive two separate firings. The pieces then receive a greta, with lead oxide or copper dissolved in water, for glaze. The seconding is handled with extreme care, and must not come into contact with other materials. After which, they are taken out of the 900°C kiln and set to cool. Finishing the immensely intricate pieces of Hilario.