Terracotta Water Filter by Studio Jose de la O

The object is inspired on the artifacts used to collect, store and serve water in Tlacotalpan – a beautiful town in the South East of México where I work, mostly organizing the Chair that Rocks workshops. Tlacotalpan had a very interesting tradition of water jar pottery, where they, very rustically, produced terracotta filters and containers to clean and store fresh water taken from the river Papaloapan. This craft is almost lost today as plastic containers replaced the terracotta ones. The only entity trying to rescue this craft is the Water Jar Pottery Museum (MOAT by its abbreviation in Spanish), a community/museum and workshop where they not only collect these amazing old water jars, containers, and filters but also have a pottery workshop where they teach this craft to the community.

Perhaps the most interesting things about the pitcher are the ones you cannot see. The terracotta filter was developed not only in terms of material research and volume but also in technology to bring a balance between efficient manufacture and tradition. As the filter by itself cannot purify water, the clay has a very interesting characteristic that can absorb a lot of the salinity on the water, making it taste fresher and sweeter. The glass pitcher is produced in Mexico City by a family of glassblowers with whom I work frequently. What I like about this project is that it involves different communities bringing a positive impact through their crafts.

Using craft and design has been a trend for some time now… Here in México, designers find more immediate results collaborating with craftsmen rather than the industry, so these kind of exercises are very popular here. Personally, I try to create innovation that could create a positive impact on the communities we work, rather than creating trends. In the end, we work with what we have available…

Interview with Studio Jose de la O. Images ©Studio Jose de la O.

Trends: Experienced Narratives.