“Morales Veinte Veinte”
Fri, Feb 28, 12pm
Calzada de la Aurora 23
15 4 50 08
By Luis Manuel Morales Gámez
Tzintzuntzan native artist and master potter, has created high-fired ceramics for 25 years. His family has worked clay for five generations. Manuel Morales and his father, Miguel, a traditional potter who switched from wood-fired kiln to high-fired ovens, worked together until his father died in an accident.
In 1982, Morales’ father, Miguel Morales, received a government subsidy which made it possible to purchase an electric-powered wheel and the only gas-fired kiln in the village. Under his father’s tutelage, Morales began to work in clay at the age of eight. He later studied painting and graphic design at the University of Michoacán in Morelia where he was influenced by the great painters Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, Rufino Tamayo, and Pablo Picasso. He studied the ancient cultures of South America and Mexico, and in particular his own Purhépecha culture, incorporating into his own work ancient symbols found on the yácatas (pyramids) just outside the village.
Morales returned to Tzintzuntzan and began to create pottery that reflects his own worldview, a view that integrates past and present and expresses the vitality, soul, and spirit of his village. His greatest inspiration comes from the natural world, in particular the lake where since his childhood he has watched the unchanging rituals of fishermen as they set sail at dawn or under the full moon with expectations of returning with a full catch.
There are few Mexican potters who have achieved the level of accomplishment that Morales enjoys. His work, sold in a very few exclusive Mexican shops, is often shipped to Europe and the United States.
“Making pottery always has a component of risk,” Morales mused when Mexico Cooks! visited him last month. “After three months of painting bowls, platters, vases, and other pieces, I have enough work to fire. Once the pots are in the kiln, all you can do is pray. Sometimes the pieces that have required the most work before firing come out with a crack, or the glaze runs, or some other surprise happens that makes the pieces useless. When clients place special orders, I always tell them that we won’t know the results until the firing is done and I open the kiln. Of course we hope for the best, but we never know.”