Friday, June 5, 2009

Salvador Vazquez, Master among Masters

The Village of Tonala has been famous since the XVII for its burnished pottery, several examples of Tonala ceramics from that period can be seen in Spain at the "Museo de America".
With centuries of talented artisans a modern "master among masters" its Salvador Vazquez (age 75). At 8 years old he started working the clay, in 1951 at age 17 he worked for the famous "Aldana" ceramics factory along with another 200 ceramists from Tonala. Folk Art legend from the 1040s Amado Galvan was his teacher along with his Godfather Felix Solis. In the early 70s he started working with another legend Jorge Wilmoth, where he had the position of designer and chef of ceramists. Thanks to Jorge for the first time maybe in centuries the artisans of Tonala started earning real money, in the past artisans only made utilitarian objects and there bosses did not paid well for there work, in words of Don Salvador that was the case of the Aldana Factory.
Once Don Salvador left Jorge Wilmoth, he opened his own studio, where now he was able to design at free will his own designs, since then several of the now Tonala masters learned there techniques from Don Salvador among them are Juan Antonio Mateo Nuno, Luis Cortez, Gilberto Pila and Jose Palacios.
The subjects that Master Vazquez likes to include in its designs are Naguales (fantastical animals), flowers, deers, birds, dogs and tradicional Mexican scenes.
You can find his work in several books of Mexican Folk Art, like Nagual in the Garden: Fantastic Animals in Mexican Ceramics (His work its in the cover of the book), Ceramica de Tonala (also this one has his work in the cover), Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art, and Art of the People, Hands of God between others.
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