Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

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Jose Neftali Ayungua Ramírez

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Barro Sin Plomo Lead Free Alliance


Jose Neftali Ayungua Ramírez

Work by Jose Neftali Ayungua Ramírez

Jose Neftali Ayungua Ramirez lives in the village of Patanban in Michoacan, Mexico, where he makes two types of pottery, which he describes as either glassy pottery or natural mud pottery.

In fact, it is the mud of this region that Jose claims sets it apart from other regions. It is the mud, which he says is “raised in one of three Patamban fields,” that infuses his bowls and hand worked figures with life.

He uses the tools of his forefathers to create his ceramic creations, which are fired in a mud oven. First he mixes the mud with water, shaping the figures by hand. Next he decorates each piece with a brush that he has fashioned out of a squirrel tail. The piece is then put into the oven and baked. If it is to have a glossy finish, it will be baked a second time.

The pieces are designed by Jose’s wife and his father, whom he calls Tata. Jose refers to his work as a “forgotten tradition,” one that people don’t have time for anymore.

“They lack the patience,” Jose said. “Everyone wants to have things fast and want quantity instead of quality.” Everyone except Jose Neftali Ayungua Ramirez.

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, a non-profit organization, produces the largest international folk art market in the world, and our success led to Santa Fe’s designation as a UNESCO City of Folk Art.