Innovando la Tradición/Colectivo 1050ᵒ
"A pot is more than a physical object--it represents identity, heritage, and a better future for their family and their people."
A favorite at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, Innovando la Tradición/Colectivo 1050◦ is a nonprofit focused on supporting the potters and pottery traditions of Oaxaca. Its artisans are passionate about ensuring that traditional ceramic techniques rooted in the past don’t disappear.
The difficult reality and state of the form is that modern convenience has made it difficult for traditional ceramicists to command fair prices for their work, so many have abandoned creating it.
Innovando la Tradicion is very special in that it is a creative place where craftspeople, designers and artists come together to share skills, knowledge and history, and to honor and reinvent Oaxacan traditional ceramics to keep them alive.
But more importantly, their goal is to move the traditional into the present day with contemporary design aesthetics, and also further awareness of their style of ceramics around the world and build sustainable new markets for the work. They are doing that with the newest arm of the organization Colectivo 1050◦.
“We look to build bridges, explore common areas between art, design and craft and rethink them,” says Kythzia Barreras Suarez, cooperative founder.
Working with 45 potters, the majority of whom are women, Innovando la Tradición creates numerous designs that have become famous around the world.
In late 2016, Jovita Cardozo Castillo, one of the cooperative’s well known potters, praised for her beautiful latticed cut vases, suddenly passed away. It was a huge loss to the community, but Kythzia, Macrina and the rest of the cooperative artists keep the legacy going by creating elegant pots known for their unique red polish, achieved through a special technique passed down through generations. The shapes of their work are inspired by the beauty and balance of nature. Traditional pottery has been a part of Zapotec life for centuries. Used daily in the kitchen and for the storage of food, it is said that pottery is the heart of every home. Kythzia’s hope is that their pottery will be in everyone’s home.
Innovando la tradición worked with archaeologists and historians to identify older forms and more than 300 new designs emerged. This has revived the traditions for generations to come.
“We consider our traditions and art a great fountain of riches. The cultural diversity is a unique legacy that should be honored and explored in order to resolve today’s problems.”