SPECIALIZING IN POTTERY FROM MEXICO
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Artisans with Heart, Gifts with a Conscience
by Swati Singh
This article is part of our series on small companies with a big mission in five areas: women, kids, community, planet, and hope.
Susan Gomez recalls waiting nervously on an isolated road in southern Arizona for her ride across the border to Mata Ortiz, Mexico. The air was thick, and she could hear thunder in the distance.
Her business partner, Mayra Castellanos, had implored her not to go. A native of Juarez, Mayra was familiar with the big-city narcos culture that was seeping into rural villages like Mata Ortiz. But Susan was determined to make her first trip to meet local Mexican artisans whose livelihoods were endangered by the growing drug violence. Just a few years ago, “busloads of tourists were driving into Mata Ortiz twice a day to buy pottery from a thriving collective of 600 artisans. Now things are more dire because the economy has changed, and less tourists are arriving, and many artists are leaving their craft.”