Jose Ortiz Bracamonte
Colorful ceramic vases in Central America
"First, you have to work at it a lot: if you have to stay up all night, then do so: the great sense of satisfaction you get from a finished piece is indescribable.""I'm an artistic ceramist who also loves to play piano and sing in a band. I'm José from Masaya, Nicaragua, and I'm an innovative, friendly and responsible person.
"Being an artist is an economic challenge, but with time I've come to realize that being an artist brings me freedom and fulfillment. At first it wasn't easy because it implied perfecting my technique, selling my work at a fair price and establishing a client base. But it's highly rewarding once you achieve it.
"I did all that I could to learn this art from the moment I first got interested I ceramics. I studied a lot and documented everything I learned to keep a record. I'd approach renowned artisans to learn from them and I worked hard in order to improve each day.
"I've developed as a self-taught artisan with the collaboration of national and international friends who are as dedicated to their art as I am. I am very grateful to them because they assisted and guided me in developing my artistic style and hone my skills.
"I can list what one must do to learn this art. First, you have to work at it a lot: if you have to stay up all night, then do so: the great sense of satisfaction you get from a finished piece is indescribable. Second, you must lose the fear of change – let it all flow. Third, be self-critical and fourth, meditate as you work.
"I work with some family members and I love it – we enjoy spending time together. We have organized ourselves according to each of our skills such as design, painting and the finishing touches.
"We craft the ceramic piece as we turn the potter's wheel with our feet. After we polish the piece we create the design free-hand, whether it implies applying color, making incisions or engraving to separate the colors. The piece is fired for up to nine hours then we paint it when it has cooled down and apply the finishing touches according to the design.
"The part that I love best is designing the colors and the artistic content of my pieces. Dreams, life, music, philosophy and my country's culture inspire me: art is in the air, and in our hearts.
"Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story and for your interest in my work. I hope you like my work."