Alfonso Castillo Orta.

As no doubt you all imagine, Mexico is full of some of the most amazing hand crafts I've ever seen in my life. It is bursting at the seams, almost to a point where it's difficult to appreciate it because there is so much of it.

My dad told me about an artist, Alfonso Castillo Orta, before I set sail and while we were in Puebla we decided to make a trip to his city in search of his art. Sadly, Alfonso passed away in 2009 after an incredible ceramicist career that spanned almost a half century. His family, who learned the art from Alfonso (who learnt from his elders), continue to produce the beautiful ceramics. 

We arrived in IzĂșcar de Matamoros (just half an hour or so from Puebla) on a Sunday, there was the greatest market on covering many blocks of the small down and we asked around for directions to the Castillo workshop or showroom. Eventually, after a few stops and lost looks we arrived at the gate of their house. It was closed so we knocked and out came the family who warmly welcomed us in and opened the showroom for us to see.

His son also showed us a little of their home, some photographs (of the whole family creating together, apparently up to 40 members of the family work in this craft) and things they found in the earth when they were building the house, all while the piece I bought was drying. We were also lucky enough to see the family's altar for Alfonso (since it was only a few days till Dias de Muertos) too inside their home.

Below are some of the pictures my friends and I took there. Hope you enjoy!

Alfonso's son, putting the protective coat on my skull.

Skeleton Luchador Dog. Pure genius. And below one of the many incredible vases.

The jaw dropping Tree of Life below.

His well known flaming skulls.

Above is my skull.

We were also lucky to be told to visit their cousins down the road, who again opened their home to us on a Sunday. I bought a fanciful Catrina there, soon to be shown off!, and got to see the artist at work. I really loved the Catrina in the second photo but already had enough ceramics to bring home- next time!

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