Herlinda Morales, Lead-Free Ceramics Artist, Santa Fe de la Laguna, Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacan

Herlinda Morales is a recognized Purepecha artist/craftswoman who creates intricate, lead-free, black glazed ceramics with her family in the small, traditional village of Santa Fe de La Laguna, Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacan. Herlinda’s signature design is the whimsical butterfly.

The family mines, prepares and molds the clay after which they decorate the celebrated candelabras with a combination of Catholic symbols and imagery connected to Herlinda’s native Purepecha culture. Herlinda’s candelabras are a key element of Holy Week and Day of the Dead celebrations that the Patzcuaro area is famous for.

Herlinda is part of the movement of the Purepecha woman’s group Uarhi founded by Guadalupe Hernandez and supported by international funding. Herlinda’s involvement with Uarhi led her to understand how lead-free pottery benefits her family’s environment and health. Uarhi’s social movement has spread to 23 communities and benefits 300 Purepecha women living in isolated villages scattered throughout the Sierra Madres. The Purepecha (Tarascan) Indians are a very traditional native group that speak in their native Indian tongue and remain true to many of their ancient customs.

Herlinda Morales is the subject of the recent documentary, ”Brilliant Soil” which focuses on the importance of producing lead-free pottery. The film debut was at an outdoor screening at the Morelia’s Museo del Estato (State Museum) in October 2011, after which the film has been presented in several Purepecha communities. The producers plan to present the documentary in Mexican towns and villages where lead is commonly used and are seeking funding to distribute the film to the United States, Canada and other interested countries.

Herlinda, one of the great masters of Mexican folk art, is proud of the film and the recognition “Brilliant Soil” has brought to the women of Michoacan and the awareness it will bring to people in many other parts of the world, but more importantly, the positive effect it is having on the environment and health of her community.

If you wish to make a donation or present “Brilliant Soil” on your home ‘soil’, please visit: “Brilliant Soil” – “Tierra Brillante”

Email: paolandia@gmail.com

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