Library Showcases Talent of Mexican Potters

The Alameda Free Library celebrated the vibrancy of local and international culture on Saturday, September 26, with a pottery demonstration in the morning and a jazz concert at night. (Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog posting on the latter).

After a successful pottery exhibit last year, the library invited members of the Mata Ortiz Potters back to the Island. And about 50 residents of all ages came to enjoy the show put on by Ricardo Corona and his colleagues, including Marianne Guillen and her three children, who all were mesmerized by the demonstration and work on display.

Corona delicately shaped and decorated a pot in the style of the region where he works, the Sierra Madre of Northern Chichuahua, Mexico, which is inspired by pottery from the Paquime ruins — declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Corona is the son-in-law of Pilo Mora, who demonstrated his skill last year at the library.

“It feels like they do weaving on top of a pot,” shared Jennifer Rias, a local weaver and art enthusiast.

Like many other guests at the demonstration, Rias enjoyed watching the potter work and shopping for pieces decorated in orange, black and blue. Many of the pieces featured geometric designs as well as dolphins, butterflies and other creatures.

Many of the visitors commented on the breath-taking delicacy of the work and its rich heritage.

“It’s interesting to see what he actually uses in terms of materials and how he coils, washes and finishes the piece,” said Sylvia Giebitz, an Oakland resident, school teacher, and native of Argentina. “Corona told me that he didn’t finish high school so that he could join and support the family business.”

The show was organized by library and inspired by library volunteer Ruth Belikove, an avid pottery fan.