OAXACA SOUNDS LIKE a place from another time. There’s the
history and lore of mezcal, the agave-based spirit produced in
the central Mexican region, the ruins of the Zapotec
civilization, and the 20 languages spoken besides Spanish.
There are also actual sounds—like the pastoral, acoustic b-roll
of birds chirping that came through the other end of the
telephone when I spoke with Kythzia Barrera, who lives and
works there. “In Oaxaca, you can see that traditional culture is
very strong,” says Barrera, speaking generally, but also
specifically, about the region’s established pottery practices,
which goes back 3,000 years. “There is all this knowledge in
the mountains, or the jungle, or in remote villages.”