March 7, 2016

Pottery From Beginning to End

It is no secret that I (Cassie) love finding little hidden gems that one would not necessarily find in a guide book.  If you add on to that handmade artisan pieces that are fair-trade, I am all in.  For the past few years, we have been visiting our friends Dina and Felipe, who are both potters, in the community of San Juan del Oriente.

San Juan del Oriente is a community built on handmade ceramic pieces.  We love to walk up and down the streets of this community viewing the beautiful pottery pieces that the artists are making.  Our friend Liz, who is a former MCCer, introduced us to Dina and Felipe a few years ago as they were working with Ten Thousand Villages to sell their pieces.  Over the past few years, the couple has mass-produced pieces for Target and Pier One Imports.  They are now working at a slower pace, selling their pieces within Nicaragua as they lead a non-profit ministry.

Last month, we took the time to visit Dina and Felipe and see some of their latest work.  Here is the pottery process, from beginning to end.


The community of San Juan del Oriente is set on clay soil.  Dina and Felipe dig for the clay in their very own yard, mixing it with other natural elements to create the clay needed for their pottery.


Felipe is in charge of running the mixer.  The clay then sits covered for 24-48 hours.


The clay is then bagged up to be used for their own creations or to sell.  Estela enjoyed resting on the bags.


Felipe then takes his very own clay to the wheel.  He uses a foot-pedal pottery wheel.


We all look on in amazement and excitement!


Here he is shaping his piece.


Here is the finished piece off the wheel.  It will then be painted and sent to the kiln.


Here are some of the lovely pieces that Felipe and Dina have made.


Next week, I plan to post on another fair-trade artisan cooperative in the community of El Chile.  Thanks for reading!

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