Mujeres Artesanas de Amatenango del Valle la Nueva Estrella
In 1999, a group of 52 indigenous Tzotzil women founded the Social Solidarity Society “Artisan Womens from Valle Amatenango of La Nueva Estrella”. Since 2000, its members produce, create and sell their handicrafts in that store that also has an exhibition center. Mrs. Albertina Ramírez is the representative. Amatenango del Valle, is a Tzeltal town characterized for the beautiful and original pottery pieces made by local artisan women using pre-Hispanic techniques. It is located 21.74 miles to the Southeast of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, at the top of a hill surrounded by a fertile valley covered in corn fields. This is a town of Mayan origins. Amatenango del Valle is known as the capital of pottery in Chiapas due to half the population practices this activity, which is exclusive for women, who at the early age of 10, they start learning how to work with mud. For the production of their products, artisan women extract mud from a mountain located outside their town. They take it home, knead it and then cover it in sand or clay for consistency. After that, they mold it, polish it and paint the pieces using rocks from the river to then burn them in a fire made with firewood cut by the local men. The process of mixing sand and water, molding the mud to then dry it and burn evokes the primal act of creation in Mayan worldview. Within the wide variety of products created by artisan women, the most common are: jaguars, pots, vessels, pigeons, roosters, braided baskets, white rabbit shaped flower pots, flower pots with calla lilies, wall hanging flower pots, rooster shaped fruit bowls, wall hanging pots, iguanas, turtles, ducks, censers, calla lily planters, turkey vessels, sets of plates, pigeon lamps, suns, moons, jars, among others.