Hands in Clay: Black Pottery

Enjoy this new clay experience based in San Bartolo Coyotepec where you will learn the ancestral technique of working with the black clay that is typical of the region.

Sandra will take us step by step through the process of making black clay pieces, and you will explore your creativity and develop new skills in the company of a Oaxacan family that is dedicated to the production of this clay technique.

San Bartolo is a town renowned for its identifiable clay pieces, since a large part of its population is dedicated to the production of uniquely-regional black clay pottery. Sandra and her family will talk to you about the history of pottery in the village and their relationship with the art form as a family and a community. You might even get to work while one of their rescue-iguanas sits on your shoulder.

We will leave from Tlayudona at 10 a.m. and will arrive in San Bartolo around 10:45, where we will introduce you to Sandra and her family. We are going to start the experience with an activity called the “amasado”, where your feet will perform the task of kneading the material with which the clay is made. After this, you’ll get to tap into your inspiration and create a piece of your choosing. Sandra can help you hone your techniques if you already have some experience, or introduce you to the basics of working with clay if you’re a beginner. Regardless of your experience level, the special characteristics of black clay and the cultural context of San Bartolo will make this a new and memorable experience for you.

During the workshop we will offer you regional sweets, a special nieve (Oaxacan version of ice-cream) and even a mezcal.

Important Note: Once you finish, your piece will be laid out to dry for 5-7 days in order for it to dehydrate evenly and not crack. The next time the family fires their pieces, we can have them delivered back to Tlayudona for pick-up. (Try to schedule your clay experience at the beginning of your trip so that we can get your finished piece to you before you depart!) If pieces are fired prematurely, they will crack or even explode in the kiln. You are also welcome to take your piece home “wet”, or to have it delivered to you later at your own cost.

What to Expect

Step One: Read our Covid Protocol. If you agree with these terms and practices, write to us and request this experience, telling us how many people are in your small group and what your dates of availability are. This experience is easiest to arrange within the host’s availability, which is generally Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays (exceptions can be made for larger groups or with advanced notice).

Step Two: Once we’ve found a date that works for our hosts and for your group, we will send you a Paypal request for a deposit for your experience. This deposit is non-refundable. In case of an emergency with our hosts, we will do our best to reschedule with you at a mutually-convenient time. If that is not possible, we will refund your deposit.

Step Three: We will meet you at 10 a.m. at Tlayudona. Make sure you have breakfast beforehand since we won’t have snacks until around midday. Let’s get our hands into the clay!

Experience Includes

  • Transportation (Leaving from/returning to our new Tlayudona (210C M. Bravo Street Colonia Centro)
  • Your visit the workshop in San Bartolo
  • Talk given by Doña Sandra
  • Personalized instruction on how to create a piece of pottery, catered to your level of experience
  • All materials necessary to create your piece
  • Translation from Spanish to English if/when necessary
  • Regional sweets, Nieve and even a mezcal

Logistics and Cost

Time Involvement – 4.5 Hours

Transportation – Round trip from/to Tlayudona (210C M. Bravo Street, Inside the Plaza San Cristobal)

Costs and Minimums – 1,650 MXN per person if you are signing up one or two people. 1,450 MXN if you are signing up 3 or more people.

There is a minimum of 2 people for this experience. If you are a single person who would like to sign up for this experience, you can cover the minimum cost of 2 people or write to us to see when we have this experience on the calendar with that minimum requirement already met.