The small town of Zinapécuaro sits in a valley outside of Morelia in Michoacan, Mexico. This is the home of J Ventura Hernandez Benitz, a Master Ceramicist, pleasant, friendly and very talented.
Ventura is the 5th generation in his family to work clay into beautiful works of art. He is passing the accumulated knowledge and skills of the previous generations as well as his 40 years of experience to his children and grandchildren, ensuring that this art continues.
His workshop is a rustic brick walled building with a corrugated metal roof beneath which his creations seemed to gestate in the heat. Homemade plaster molds and their offspring - pots, vases and pitchers Ceramic art requires weeks of labor - lay about the shop in the hypnotic chaos of a true artist. Small ceramic pumpkins sit on the concrete floor in front of a shelf loaded with vases covered with images of skeletons dressed in fiesta garb, geometric patterns of terraces and triangles, stylized dogs and monkeys. Pots in subtle shades of dark red ocher, greenish umber and bluish gray sit nearby.
This amazing vessel/pot is an example of Ventura's vision. Pre-Hispanic symbols are hand painted on the top while a centro esfingue or a sphinx like face is found in the center of the pot. The pot is sitting on a pedestal of two feet.
Ventura's fruit bowl has Pre-Hispanic symbols hand painted throughout the bowl, with a Pre-Hispanic bird in the middle of it.