We are very thankful for the opportunity to work with our main artisan partners in Mexico—a group of diverse Mexican potters located in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Puebla. Together, they are a co-op, working to promote their work as one and to create a collection like no other.
The purpose of joining forces from different regions is to help these artisans make a living while continuing to develop the skills and techniques that have been handed down for centuries in their small villages. At the same time, the founders recognized the need for a global market to support the work—as the tourist markets in Mexico have largely turned to cheap Asian imports. As a result, these ancestral skills have been lost to future generations.
Each of our three regions of Mexico has its own culture, represented through the local earth that they gather with their hands to form the clays they use to make pottery. The black clay comes from the rich, fine soil in Oaxaca (barro negro), the rust clay from the hills of Puebla (barro orin) and the white clay pieces are created from the earth of Chiapas (barro blanco).
The pieces are all shaped by hand, with the thought and care that comes from generations of understanding their roots. Mexico’s pottery practices date back 3,000 years and each piece of hand-turned sculpture is a piece of history, as well as a piece of art. These authentic pieces can only be created in these places. Nowhere else in the world. These maestros are clay alchemists and their creations are “born of fire”.
They are working to transform these traditional skills into a source of economic stability, social cohesion, and cultural development. We applaud not only their business model, but their devotion to the emotional and physical well-being of their member artists. And they're proactive in developing ways to fire the potteries that won’t harm the environment, such as using recycled restaurant oil as fuel.
Our partners care deeply about the art they create, and the world they will leave behind. They care about their ancestors who spent centuries developing the processes, they care about preserving culture. And we’re proud to present their work with the utmost of care and respect for their heritage.
This care and thought tracks back to slow design, ethical manufacturing, and intentional living. We are committed to these principles at Obakki. As we are committed to our partners in the field—the humble artists, the keepers of tradition, the guardians of history.
And we commit to you, the consumer, that you will know where the piece that sits in your home comes from, and how it got to you. You will know that it was created by an artist with passion for preserving their culture. You will know that the bulk of the dollars you paid for that product went back to the creator. Salud!