At Rancho La Puerta the hands of Macario guide you.
Macario Olea is a warm and charming man with a kind wit and a charitable personality. At just over 50 years old, he’s the ceramicist for Rancho La Puerta. He creates the signs that show guests the way to the different gyms, pools and rooms. The dark blue lettering against the shiny-ash color of the signs is as much a manifestation of his heritage as they are part of The Ranch experience.
As a craftsman at The Ranch, Macario spends his day manipulating Tonala clay he has shipped from his hometown. Tonala, in the state of Jalisco, in western Mexico, is one of the centers for ceramics in Mexico. The area produces this favored fine silky-clay that is the pride of the area’s artisans. “There’s no other material like it,” he says. Barro de olor, it’s called, the clay of smell or the aromatic clay, known for the rich earthiness that permeates from it. As he kneads and wedges the clay, the muddy scent takes him back to his childhood and the hills around Tonala, reminding him of his mother and father.
As a child, when he finished his homework, he would help his mother, a potter, make mugs, plates and figurines. His mom learned from her mom and so on; from one generation to the next these skills were handed down, taught and mastered. On weekends he’d join his father as they hiked into the hillside and loaded their pair of donkeys with wood to sell to the potters and craftsmen for their kilns.