ceramics classes in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

ceramics classes and clay sculpture studio San Miguel de Allende Adria Calaresu

About me- An Alternative Resumé

Barro.Co Clay Studio is me, Adria, and my gigantic support system of extended family, friends and helpers.  I feel enormously grateful to my studio team of lifesavers, Alejandra, Sara and Lupe, for their endless support and cheery dispositions on this somewhat unexpected voyage.  Without the skills of our talented ironworkers, carpenters, construction workers, plumbers, electricians, Mr. Fix-Its, etc. we would be sadly lost.  I want to say a special thank you to my core support team, my best friend Melinda, my mother Joan Barber, and Victor Gonzalez my martial arts teacher, for gluing me back together when i fell apart.  A big thanks to all of you for sticking with me during trying times and difficult transitions!! 

So....I love making things, and I love power tools, hardware catalogues, street dogs, self-reflection, drip irrigation, transforming spaces, tree-pruning, giggling, and the beauty, structural complexity and defense mechanisms of insects.  I also love the Chinese martial arts for its lessons in being fully alert while remaining relaxed as i make my way through this complex world of ours.  

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I transplanted myself from Canada to Mexico 25 years ago.  Before i launched myself into the studio project, I had acquired 65 wild acres of cactus and mesquite trees in the countryside, and 11 rescue dogs, and together we dropped off the urban radar and spent some years restoring my tired patch of nature in the countryside, on the outskirts of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  

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I have an undergraduate degree in History from the University of Western Ontario, a 2-year diploma from BealArt, in London, Ontario, and a Master’s Degree in Fine Art from the Instituto Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  The night of my Master's graduation show, I had an unlikely illumination that I did not like exposing my art, or myself, which of course made the possibility of surviving as an artist very doubtful.   I realized that I did not like the process of artist-making, but rather, I liked the process of art-making.  

I have scaled volcanos in Guatemala, tracked soldier ants in the jungle of Belize, pilgrimaged to visionary environments in Europe, sought out the Sahara in Morocco... and in Mexico I explored permaculture and alternative construction, nurtured an organic vegetable garden, delved in the Chinese martial arts, rescued street dogs, and even made a half-hearted attempt at learning to play the accordion... but a long-listed artist's resumé of shows and awards I do not have.  

I had a dream to make a place for thing-making, tool-hoarding and soul-cultivating,  so I bought a run-down carpentry workshop and renovated it into my Thing-Making Place. I like teeny weeny places to live, and mighty spaces to work.  I finished the renovations and opened my studio to the public in 2013.  

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My work:  During this intense adventure my clay work has unfortunately had to take a back seat.  I hope to change that soon!  In praise of hands and heads I believe in good craftsmanship and technique.  I believe in a good sense of humour.  I believe that sculptures need to be outside in order for them to thrive.   Just like people, they need to be outside interacting with the environment.  They need to mingle with nature, experience the rain, the sun and the wind.  Gardening is decorating outside.  It is an attempt to organize, embellish and tame nature and to know when to appreciate her unharnessed personality.  

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I believe in art that appeals to a broad public.  Art must be accessible --- nothing too obtuse, nor too esoteric, but something that holds interesting ideas, historical reference and thoughtful concepts.  I believe in art and life that has a heart and a soul, art that grows out of personal experiences.  I like the Decorative Arts, things that are both useful (sort of) and beautiful.   Much of my art is related to my experiences with nature during what I fondly refer to as my 'rancho years', my time spent on my land in a Mexican rural village.  I also retrieve childhood lessons learned from my father on those torturous never-ending Sunday 'nature walks' with the whole collection of Peterson Field Guides in hand.  

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My father was an academic and neurophysiologist, prominent in his field of work.  For enjoyment he collected dead cicadas and their molted shells, in various stages of dismemberment and decomposition, and lined them up on his office desk for visitors to either delight in, or be repulsed by.  One of his famous sayings, used for both daughters and students, was... ‘It is better to be unemployed at 45 with a Phd, than unemployed at 45 without one’.  I did not heed his advice... but, my serpentine path led me to a warm place in Mexico, and in my heart.  In the name of my father, and his daughter, and the ever-present ghosts of cicadas, I present my clay studio BARRO.CO. 

BARRO.CO’s logo image is a floral garland shielded by a cicada.  There are many myths and fables featuring the cicada, and many meanings attributed to the insect as a symbol.  The cicada is often a symbol of evanescence and rebirth, due to its short life cycle.  My cicada is a personal symbol of the memory of my kooky father and his love of art and nature.  The Mexican folksong La Cigarra (The Cicada) says: 

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Bajo la sombra de un árbol

Canto alegre este huapango

Porque la vida se acaba

Y quiero morir cantando

Como muere la cigarra

 

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A big belly scratch to our trusty furry studio companions, Tonka Truck, Gema de Fledermaus, Sansón Panzón, and Firulais, for making my heart twinkle with all of your silly antics, making us laugh all day long, and for accompanying me during those long nights of firing the kilns!!