Mariana started her journey as a self-taught artist in 1993 in a little earthenware studio in her native Tlalpan, Mexico. In 1996 she moved to Cuernavaca, Morelos where she worked and studied with local potters.
In 2001 she became an independent studio potter sharing a studio with sculpture artist Gabriela Cano. During that time she volunteered as a ceramic instructor for APAC, an Association for children and adults with cerebral palsy and downs syndrome. Two years later she opened her own home studio where she taught after school pottery classes and organized the children’s exhibits “Tierra Mojada I and II” (Soaked Earth I and II).
She instructed and coordinated several workshops for schools including Ecole Moliere and the Olinca School in the State of Morelos, Mexico. In 2004 she participated in “Expresiones,” a collective of women potters at Portal La Vista in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
When she moved to North Carolina in 2006 she joined The Sawtooth School for Visual Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she took advanced pottery classes on a regular basis to improve her wheel throwing and handbuilding techniques. She has attended several workshops with master potters such as Ben Owen III and David McDonald as well as participating in hands on workshops from local potters.
In 2007 Mariana taught along with Warren Moyer, director of the Ceramics Department at The Sawtooth School for Visual Arts, basic handbuilding techniques and wheel throwing classes for a group of visually impaired adults at Industries for the Blind. In 2008 she taught the workshop “Arbol de la Vida” (Tree of Life) at The Sawtooth School for Visual Arts.
Mariana has participated in several local pottery events and fairs including the 2010 Seagrove Pottery Festival as a member of the Carolina Clay Guild. In May 2010 she instructed a two day workshop entitled “The Tree of Life” for Art Quest, at the Green Hill Center for North Carolina Arts. In 2011 she conducted Tree of Life workshops in several Guilford County Schools thanks to funding from Art Quest.
Since 2008 Mariana works out of her studio at Lyndon Street Artworks in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she is attracting notice for her clay pottery and folk art sold under the name of Tierra Madre (Mother Earth) Ceramic Art. In her studio she creates asymmetrical bowls and spiral decorations, vessels shaped like animals and mermaids. She also maintains a permanent display of her work and teaches art classes. Her signature piece is the Tree of Life, a traditional Mexican art form. These clay structures resemble trees with almost pretzel-like limbs, decorated with tiny clay leaves, vines, birds, flowers and other objects. Each Tree of Life tells a story and reflects very personal memories and experiences. For example, one Tree of Life entitled “Santuario Monarca,” depicts delicate butterflies on its limbs and draws on Mariana’s memory of driving in mountains outside of Mexico City and coming upon the monarch butterflies’ migration path. Another Tree of Life titled “Zócalo,” decorated with birds, vines and candle holders, reflects her memories of visits to Mexican town plazas and hearing sounds of birds flying in and out. Another Tree of Life depicts Mariana’s life. The bouquet of lilies in the center represents her mother; a hot air balloon represents her father’s love of travel; her two sons are depicted, one playing the guitar and the other playing the piano; the starfish represents her husband’s love of the ocean; and Mariana herself is represented by small pieces of pottery, a book to represent her love of reading and a mermaid to reflect her fascination with mermaids.
(excerpts taken from Greensboro News & Record article by Dawn DeCwikiel-Kane, January 9, 2011)
You can see Mariana’s work at: www.tierramadreceramicart.com