Burnished Mud

Mexican Craftsmanship

Burnished mud is the oldest technique. Its name is given because of the technique used to obtain the piece´s glow. It is also known as the mother technique because it preserves pre-Hispanic characteristics in the production process. It belongs to one of the oldest branches of pottery.

It is the technique from which others derive. The pieces elaborated using it have a shiny and smooth aspect. This particular characteristic is distinguished because it is performed with the region´s mud and the pieces are smoothed or polished using river stones. That is how that wonderful glowing aspect is achieved; it is obtained by carving the pieces with a mineral stone known as Pirita.

Molds

For the elaboration of the pieces molds are used, in which the mud mass is poured.

The handles, ears, and clay pastillage details are molded apart and then incrusted in the final piece.

Details

Decoration

The decoration its accomplished with local mud colors. It is through this process that Luis Cortez decorates each one of the pieces with traditional art: floral figures, animals, and distinctive colors.

The burnishing gives that particular brightness to the piece. It is nothing more than the final glow. It is obtained by the eagerness of rubbing the piece´s surface with a mineral stone. What it does is close the pores of the clay, waterproofing the piece without the need of glazing.

Burnishing

Baking

Last step: baking. This technique demands that the piece should be finished in a single cooking in gas or wood ovens with temperatures between 650°C and 700°C approximately.

  • When baking with wood, the temperature is measured by eye, because no thermometer is used in the oven.

These days, the pieces elaborated with this technique are only for decorative use, commonly exhibited in art galleries, and are highly valued by collectors from around the world.