Mexico's folk art/artesanias is exemplified through its pottery. In the state of Michoacán, a group of men extract large chunks of clay utilizing picks and shovels. The material is put into sacks and brought back to the village on the backs of burros or mules.
This is the raw material with which Hilario Alejos Madrigal creates his celebrated pineapple pots with their bright green glaze. The work of this artisan stands out for its dintinctive handcrafted appliqué work. Hilario learned the secrets of working with clay from his mother, Elisa Madrigal Martínez, creator of the famous pineapples of Carapan.
In the beginning, they produced handmade utilitarian pieces but were drawn to creating more elaborate objects. Hilario and his wife, Audelia, began to fabricate new figures which they entered in diverse competitions. Outstanding are the ornamental pineapples, elaborated with techniques of appliqué and openwork, and whose production requires exceptional skill and mastery.
Punchbowls, candleabras of various sizes, towers of pots and more, form part of the range of pieces that Hilario produces. He works fulltime on his handcrafted folk art ceramics as they represent his chief source of income.
Hilario is a featured artist in the beautiful "Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art" book published by Fomento Cultural Banamex. To watch a video of Hilario at Feria Maestros del Arte, just click here.