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Angélica Vásquez Cruz, Master Ceramicist

by Alvin Starkman M.A., LL.B., of Casa Machaya

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Master ceramicist Angélica Vásquez Cruz has set herself apart from other sculptors, not only in her hometown of Atzompa, itself known for a longstanding tradition of villagers handcrafting fine figures, kitchenware and fanciful forms, but throughout the central valley of Oaxaca. Since age 7 Angélica has been innovating and adapting her artform using different clays and natural substances to produce variations in texture and color for her unique and thought-provoking pieces.
Atzompa is one of a plethora of quaint little craft towns which can be visited by travelers to Oaxaca. It's most often known for the workshops of potters who make green glazed and pastel colored ceramics. However, as is the case in other villages peppering the region, on the rarest of occasions the odd maestro with something truly unique and special to offer emerges, and in Atzompa, Angélica is that angel.
Angélica's work has been heavily influenced by her own family as well as Mexican history and legend. Her belief in the importance and strength of the matriarch in Oaxacan cultures shines through her work. What immediately strikes the eye upon entering her "showroom," a small space set aside in her home/workshop, are two important features of her mastery: the complexity of detail; and flowing natural movement so rarely captured by her colleagues. Of peers she has very few.
Atzompa is a 15 minute drive from Oaxaca, easily accessed by taxi. Angélica's home, on Avenida Independencia, is several blocks up from the main downtown artisans' market. She or one of her children will warmly welcome tourists into their charming and quaint world, a well-kept homestead featuring an abundance of colorful flowering plants, shrubs and fruit trees. She can be reached at (951) 558-9061.

Resident Oaxacan Alvin Starkman, together with wife Arlene operates Casa Machaya Oaxaca Bed & Breakfast. He includes a stop by Angélica's on one of the tours he offers.

This page has been visited times since January 19, 2007.

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