"My inspiration comes from knowing that thousands of people have fallen in love with this beautiful art that seems to arise from nothing, from the clay hidden within the earth."
"I'm Miguel Angel Calero Gutierrez, born in San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua on September 24, 1968. My path in this art began when I noticed how pretty the work on a terracotta jar was! I was even more interested when I realized I was helping to preserve the cultural legacy of my ancestors because, through our ceramics, we can share the beauty of our pottery with the whole world. Our work with clay has been a legacy inherited by generations. And we're teaching our art to new generations just like my grandparents and parents taught me so that it's not lost in the future. My workshop has always been run by family and we continue developing this millennial art form.
"To become a master artisan, I had to work hard with much discipline. After learning, you have to put your skills into practice every day, since this is the only way we become better artisans. You must have a vision of what you want to achieve and work to make something different from what other local artisans are creating. Otherwise, everyone will make the same things and no one will stand out from the rest. It's important to not copy other artisans, because otherwise you can find yourself stuck in a rut, creatively. I studied different types of clay and took courses in contemporary colors and techniques. I did this to learn more and also to be able to be innovative.
"One of the most difficult times in my life was in 1998, when hurricane Mitch devastated our house. Our homesite was long and narrow, some of it fairly high. But much of it collapsed together with our homes. With the help of God who sends us work and customers, we've been able to overcome this tragedy that, fortunately, was only was a material loss, and no one in our family was injured.
"I consider myself to be a humble person, a good master artisan, and am always sincere and kind to others. In my future plans, I dream of establishing myself in the select international market so that I can give my family a better quality of life. I dream of my children getting ahead, going to college and becoming professional people.
"What I like most about my job is watching how easily you can create asymmetrical designs. Another thing I enjoy is the polishing technique that creates a glass-like shine. I've always been surprised by the high levels of quality you can achieve, and our pieces usually serve as home décor for families of all social levels.
"My inspiration comes from knowing that thousands of people have fallen in love with this beautiful art that seems to arise from nothing, from the clay hidden within the earth. It becomes a precious jewel with great cultural value and, at the same time, lets us artisans put food on the table."