ceramics classes in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

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

About us - An Alternative Resumé

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Barro.Co is two of us... my partner Alberto, and me, Adria.  We are the Jack and Jill of all trades, in the most positive sense of the expression; we are not necessarily the masters of none.  We share a love of making things, power tools, hardware catalogues, street dogs, self-reflection, drip irrigation, tree-pruning, giggling, and the beauty, structural complexity and defense mechanisms of insects. 

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I transplanted myself from Canada to Mexico 20 years ago, and Alberto is a law-school drop out (again, in the most positive sense of the word - a rejector of conventional society who wants to pursue an alternative lifestyle) and escapee from the metropolis of Mexico City.  His heart was in the countryside, but his body trapped in the big city, so he ran after his heart to small town Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, where we first met.  I had 65 wild acres of cactuses and mesquite trees in the countryside, 11 dogs, and no energy left, and Alberto had a need for peace and quiet in the countryside, a love of dogs, and a lot of energy to spare and share.  The perfect affiliation.  We dropped off the urban radar and spent some years restoring our tired patch of nature in the countryside, on the outskirts of San Miguel de Allende.  

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I have an undergraduate degree in History from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, a 2-year diploma from BealArt, London, Ontario, and a Master’s Degree in Fine Art from the Instituto Allende, San Miguel de Allende.  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.  Alberto likes conceiving, designing, and making things, any things... stills, furniture, buildings, jewelry, sculptures, bows and arrows,... and  fixing things, and resolving problems with kilns, car engines, motorcycles, machinery, and life.

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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 explored permaculture and alternative construction, nurtured an organic vegetable garden, delved in 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.  

Alberto and I had a dream to make a place for thing-making, tool-hoarding and soul-cultivating.  So we bought a run-down carpentry workshop and renovated it into our Thing-Making Place.  We both like teeny weeny places to live, and mighty spaces to work.  We are now done renovating and ready to get to work...  

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Our work:  In praise of hands and heads we believe in good craftsmanship and technique.  We believe in a good sense of humour.  We 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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We believe in art that appeals to a broad public.  Art must be accessible --- nothing too obtuse, nor esoteric, but that has interesting ideas, historical reference and thoughtful concepts.  We believe in art and life that has a heart and a soul, art that grows out of personal experiences.  We like the Decorative Arts, things that are both useful (sort of) and beautiful.   Much of our art is related to our experiences with nature during what we fondly refer to as our 'rancho years', our time spent on our land in a Mexican rural village ('rancho').  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, we present our new 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.  Our 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