Mexican Ceramicist Juan José Ramos Medrano

Mexican ceramic artist Juan Jose Ramos Medrano and son Abel in their home.

Juan José Ramos Medrano

Juan José Ramos Medrano is the grandson of the renowned Mexican sculptor, Candelario Medrano. Candelario was a sewer pipe maker who began making ceramic sculptures out of the pipe clay. This became known as the betus clay tradition of ceramic art. The subjects of these playful artforms are often fantastical creatures. Each piece bears the unmistakable stamp of the particular folk artist who made it.


Candelario Medrano Mexican folk artist

Photo of Candelario Medrano glazing one of his creations.

Juan José, or JJRM, as he signs his work, carries on his grandfather’s folk art tradition. He lives on the outskirts of Tonalá, Jalisco, in a small community called Santa Cruz de las Huertas. He works in his humble house creating soulful pieces of art. He prepares his brick kiln days in advance while he kneads the clay into figurines and paints them. He then coats his colored creatures with betus or birch extract oil to give them a lacquered finish. The pieces are then dried before baking at a very low temperature to prevent them from exploding.

Juan José often draws inspiration from a magical creature known in Mexico as the Nagual. A Nagual is a human being who uses magic to convert himself into animal form. The Nagual may also transform into more powerful, fantastical animals. The Nagual use their powers either for good or for evil, depending on their personality.

Visiting Juan José at his house and buying his art was a fantastic experience for my wife and I. We were lucky enough to encounter his art through bed and breakfast owners, Stan and 

José who run Casa de Las Flores in Tlaquepaque. We loved JJRM's child-like and soulful style and knew his art would be perfect for our shop.


Driving through Juan José's neighborhood.


Mexican ceramic folk art JJRM

 The yellow sculpture on the right is a nagual.


Backyard garden of Mexican sculptor, Juan Jose Ramos Medrano

Juan José's backyard garden.


Mexican ceramic artist JJRM's kiln in backyard garden and art studio

Juan José's kilns. The fire is prepared days in advance to create a low temperature that will be sustained for a long time.


horse sculptures

One of Juan José's gifts is capturing the gestures of animals.


Abel Medrano, son of JJRM

Abel shows off the mask he made. Fourth generation folk artist!


JJRM sculptures

Soulful Brahma bull and musician.

This blog post first appeared at Hello! Good Morning! 

1 comment

  • charming….curious, with such low firings, very fragile. although varnished not glaze could humidity or water cause them to crumble or deteriorate?

    Jo Fyfe

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