Origins of One-of-a-Kind

by Clayton Freeman October 13, 2022

Origins of One-of-a-Kind

The funnel-shaped land mass bridging the two Americas, North and South, otherwise known as Mexico, is affirmed by archeologists and historians to be the center of origin of Mesoamerica's first advanced civilizations and cultures. The genetic resources of Mexico's nutrient-rich soil have existed for millennia. Aside from sprouting most of the western hemisphere's crops and harvests, the sediments of Mexico have also provided another natural wonder called "Earthenware." The artisan process of producing low-fire ceramic pottery dates back thousands of years before the Pre-Columbian period. Spanning the central states of Guanajuato and Jalisco, groups of indigenous artisans have been sculpting, mold-making, and shaping raw earth and clay compounds into functional pottery and essential vessels for generations. Their trained ability for shaping and curing authentic ceramic containers known as Jarrones and Macetas still contains disciplines and techniques unchanged from their pre-Hispanic ancestry. Entire families of ceramists and potters are incredibly proud of their heritage, with everyone participating in the artisan process.

Vintage pottery from Mexico

More than just an old clay pot.

.01 Piles and Piles of terracotta planters.  The symmetry of this group begged to be captured in a photo  | .02  The simple and unique shape  of this terracotta planter makes a definite statement in an entryway. Adding a live plant makes it even more dramatic  | .03  As seen here a Zenwaro terracotta planter accommodates this 8'ft Kalanchoe Beharensis (Felt Bush) adding a bit of elegant natural life within the home.  | .04  Both of these pots were professionally planted and installed by our friends at Plant Daddies located in Los Angeles CA. Available for purchase at Berbere Imports also located in LA, CA.

Mexico's craftsmanship and artisanal heritage date back millennia and are not limited to only pottery and earthenware making. Stone carvers, wood carvers, carpenters, blacksmiths, silversmiths, and tin workers were part of Mexico's creator economy before the Spanish conquistadors appeared in the early 16th century. Archeologist and researchers have unearthed a bevy of tools, artifacts, curios, fossils which verify that pre-Columbian civilizations of modern day Mexico demonstrated a great ability to craft, sculpt, fashion, weave, and build with great precision. 

Colonial Mexico, vintage doors and other artifacts

The treasures that exist in abandoned missions and haciendas

.01 The grandiose entryway to hidden treasures, these massive wooden doors tucked inside a roadside bazaar led to an unexpected collection of hand-carved doors and restored classic vehicles.  |  .02 A closeup of one of the wooden doors, displaying the colorful effects of years of weathering to the paint and metal hardware.  | .03  Turquoise blue may not be your favorite color for a door, but it provided an excellent photo opportunity.

In the architecture and decorative art spaces, there is a term "architectural ornament" which is often defined as. A decoration (often constructed by hand) used to embellish parts of a building / object or exactly the opposite; a part of a building, tool, or object restored and adapted to be incorporated within the home or commercial space. Architectural Ornaments are commonly significant in size and stature and can be either wholly functional such as a door or purely decorative such as a sculpture. Usually these pieces are restored and refinished from an antiquity state and repurposed for modern application. Think an old wagon wheel transformed into a dinning table or a solid stone livestock tough repurposed to be a powder-room sink. Architectural ornaments can be carved from stone, built from wood, founded from precious metals, or formed with plaster or clay. They can be painted or impressed onto a surface as an applied ornament. In the instances where architectural ornaments are decades to centuries old it is common for a professional finisher to restore the original finish and color or to preserve the weathered and oxidized finish. 


Sculptures from Mexico

Saints and Gods in every direction.

.01 This larger-than-life carving of San Francisco framed in a background of tiny dichroic glass tiles with an adobe brick surround, created the perfect focal point in a pool area.  |  .02 A joyous and massive stone carving of an ancient Mayan god found at another roadside bazaar| .03 It was love at first sight when I stumbled upon this solid mesquite wood carving of San Francisco. He is now available in our One-of-a-Kind Collection.

Traveling throughout Mexico for many years, the evidence remains prevalent today that outstanding craftsmanship is alive and well in many areas of modern-day Mexico. 

Carved stone from Mexico

From quarry to intricately carved work of art! 

.01  When we paid a visit to an artisan in southern Mexico, he took us to the quarry where he sources his cantera stone.  It was definitely a surreal experience | .02  From the cantera stone quarry in photo 01 to the intricately carved finished work of art in this photo, the artistry never failed to amaze us.

On a recent exploration through very remote regions of Central and Southern Mexico we acquired very particular very old and very rare Architectural Ornaments and have made them available for order. You can visit our O.A.K. Collection which dropped 10.10.22 and will be shop-able for a limited time.


Clayton Freeman
Clayton Freeman


Cofounder, Product Designer, Team Member at Zenwaro™

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