White-Enameled Ceramic Artists
Santa Maria Atzompa, Oaxaca, México
about the artists
The ceramic work by the Zarate-Guadalupe family owes its roots to two generations in Eligio’s family’s past. His grandfather was the initiator of the practice, which is now in its fourth generation, for Eligio & Guadalupe’s daughters, Dalia Ixcel, Daniela Gudalupe, and Gabriela Lisette also work the clay, each with their own task in the process of claywork. Back in his grandfather’s day, however, ceramics in Oaxaca served an exclusively utilitarian purpose and although we can still find this kind of clayware, many artisans have turned into artists in newer generations. The downfall of their utilitarian market was largely because of the rise of plastic throughout the decades and this obliged artisans to find new ways to create using clay. Eligio’s grandfather taught his father, who then taught him the same traditional designs that had been practiced for over a century. Eligio was just six years old when he began making shapes, toys, and occasionally helping with the family business. As he grew older, his curiosity grew, challenging old notions of ceramic work. Eligio and Guadalupe met in college studying Technical Engineering and did not originally mean to work as ceramicists. However, when they both couldn’t find work in their studied profession, they turned back to ceramics. The two married in 1999 and decided they would run their own business, with a desire to make things different. Guadalupe did not have a background in ceramics but nevertheless found it fascinating and became an apprentice to Eligio, helping him with the profession’s lengthy process. Sharing the desire to make something unique, they were magnetized to white enamel, after seeing a sample imported into their village of Atzompa. The two began designing new and innovative pieces and have made a name for themselves around Mexico. They stand out for their ability to create clean and precise geometric designs onto their pots, vases, and sculptures. Below you can find a collection of some of what we have found to be their most beautiful designs.