Why we call it, Hermano. Working with artisans while creating life long bonds.
As with many of our creations this beautifully simple, almost primitive, jovial sculpture has many stories behind it. The Hermano sculptures started out as the "Herman." The idea for this creation began with an unfinished sculpture at our Devotion Ceramic studios in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The story begins...
Harry Freeman, one of the founders of Zenwaro, set out again through Mexico to find artisans and a little culture. For this particular journey in 2014, he planned a visit with Rafael Pineda (the artist behind the Devotion Collection).
The two men spent hours reviewing Rafael's newest creations, while sharing a few stories and many laughs. Harry then stumbled upon a group of crude, raw, oblong-shaped clay figures laying on the ground. Harry picked one up, blew the dust off, and then began to study this newfound treasure.
He asked Rafael, "What is this?"
"Well, Harry, you see, that is a work in progress," Rafael replied.
Harry responded simply, "I like it!" then added in his dry humor: "I think I will call it Herman."
Puzzled by this response Rafael asked, "Why Herman?" Rafael was unfamiliar with the 1960s American sitcom "The Munsters."
"Don't you watch TV?" Harry replied.
It was also clear at that moment that Harry's memory of 60s-era American sitcoms was lacking, and he had confused the character Herman Munster with Uncle Fester of The Adams Family.
Especially in its unfinished, pale terra-cotta form, the loaf-shaped sculpture did somewhat resemble the bald noggin of one Uncle Fester. Yet the moment passed, and the name stuck. Herman, at least for the moment, was the name.
Photo: Unfinished ceramic Hermano sculptures. Just unloaded from cargo awaiting for the finishes to be applied; circa 2014
When he returned to the US with several unfinished Herman sculptures in-tow, Harry had definite plans for his newfound treasure. He had experience with various stains, urethanes, oils, and other wood finishing products. He wanted to test his talents out on the ceramic sculptures.
Herman was going to receive a facelift.
Harry understood that fired ceramic has a very similar porous composition to that of dried wood. After applying and polishing various lacquers and stains, he achieved the dark espresso color and smooth satin finish of the product you see today.
Herman was now Hermano.
This endearing Spanish term translates simply to "brother", and it represents the bond that Harry created with Rafael Pineda and many other artists in his lifetime. Harry was fascinated with these humble, creative souls, and he respected their art. He considered many to be his "Hermanos".