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 Culture & Traditions

Barro Negro: The Art of Omar Fabian Black Clay from Oaxaca

Creating the Design

Creating the Design

When it is finally built I proceed to trim the excess clay, and start the design, etching, cutting, bas-relief, high relief, pastillaje (small pieces of clay added onto the main surface).

 

The next step is the first burnishing, done with a mamey fruit seed, a piece of bamboo, or a deer’s antler. The piece is left to dry for approximately 10 days. When ready it is burnished with a quartz stone bringing out the natural beautiful sheen.

 

After the last burnishing the pieces are place in an underground kiln for 12 hours. This is how the clay turns into a beautiful black.

Underground Kiln

Underground Kiln

As you can see, a piece takes about 25 to 30 days to create!

Butterflies Barro Negro

Butterflies Barro Negro

I think my work’s main differences with that of other traditional black clay artist are that I incorporate design elements, I have a specific process of creation, a methodology and most of all they have meaning. They are not made just for the sake of making them. I obsess over the design, the line-work, symmetry, and composition and of course the theme of my work.

 

I plan on teaching children how to work with clay so they fall in love with it, and continue our ancestral legacy. If they have the talent I would like to teach them what I’ve learned. I feel compelled to preserve, encourage and get people to know about this art.

Sphere by Omar Fabian

Sphere by Omar Fabian

I would like to keep on learning and reaching new heights with my art, creating innovative pieces so that hopefully, more people become aware of my work.

 

I would like to end this short introduction to my work with one of my favorite quotes by the best Mexican Architect, Luis Barragan:

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