Last month, I spent a couple of weeks visiting a friend who lives in the tiny village of La Candelaria in Baja California Sur. Because of it’s location in the foot hills of the Sierra de la Laguna and poorly kept dirt roads it is somewhat remote and literally off the grid. The village receives about 3 hours of electricity every day from a generator and I found it quite lovely to be distanced from my cell phone and social media. I at first thought it would be a hard adjustment, but I quickly adapted. It was actually a welcome break. Being a photographer, I of course took a ton of photographs, with a focus on traditional cuisine. My friend Lorna Hankins a resident of about 25 years and potter asked her niece and nephew to cook empanadas and coyotes for me so that I could photograph them. What made the project special was using her pottery to showcase the food.
Lorna had decided to adopt this tiny village of approximately 85 residents as her new home about 25 years ago. Initially she came down from the northwest to improve her Spanish and then fell in love with this beautiful oasis in the desert. With a masters in fine art in metal work and jewelry, it was not a stretch for her to learn a new craft. When she made the decision to stay, a local villager taught the traditional method of creating pottery that can actually be used for cooking and serving. Each summer she returns to Portland to visit family and friends, and I would ask if I could buy one of her pots. She would respond that I would have to go down to Mexico and get it myself! So I took her up on her offer and as an extra bonus she actually taught me how to make some pots as well. However, I have a long way to go before my pottery looks like hers. Today, tourists visiting Cabo San Lucas and Todos Santos often take the journey to come especially to La Candelaria to buy her work.