"You might say I have ceramics in my blood, and I love this art. It is the way of life for my family."
"I'm from San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua where I was born on December 28, 1977. I come from a humble family and my childhood home was built of plastic. Like other artisans in my town, I learned to work in ceramics from my family. You might say I have ceramics in my blood, and I love this art. It is the way of life for my family.
"Sometimes our work fetches a good price and others, not so good. I'm proud I've been able to get ahead in life and change my family's living conditions. We've exchanged poverty for a more dignified way of life.
"Ceramics are my family heritage, as I said before, and the skills are handed down from generation to generation. Now I'm also contributing to preserving the precious arts of San Juan de Oriente. I teach future ceramists in my own workshop or in other people's workshops so they can discover and perfect their own techniques. We also stage demonstrations for tourists and buyers so that they'll better understand what we do and how we do it. This helps them appreciate the dedication and effort that goes into each piece we craft.
"I've always considered myself to be a traditional artisan. My designs actually come from the generations before me who took the time to teach me. I do feel as though I create pre-Hispanic and geometric art while preserving its roots.
"I love to participate in commercial events that promote our work because this helps us reach new clients and lets more people know about the work we artisans are doing. We've come to realize our ceramics are greatly appreciated and this makes me happy, because I create these pieces with my own hands.
"I dream that in the near future I'll be able to finish some improvements I'm making to my house and also to find people who'll buy my ceramics all year long. This would really help improve our lifestyle — that of my family and also of the artisans who collaborate with me.
"My town is rich in clay, our principal material, and its quality is excellent. I make some of our tools myself, like the rudimentary utensils we use to work the clay. They're not complicated to make and this is one of the first things you learn in a workshop. What I enjoy most about my work is innovating, redesigning and creating new designs. I try to improve the quality of my work every single day.
"My wife helps me in my workshop, as do some other artisans. I first craft a new design on the potter's wheel and my wife glazes it. Then it comes back to me for firing. Finally, my assistants smooth it, engrave it, paint and decorate it.
"The sale of our ceramics benefits the entire community, because we're able to hire people in our workshop and to purchase our basic necessities in the local markets, which are run by people from the town.
"Now, as our work is known at the international level, we expect tourism to grow as well. As our town becomes better known, that more and more people will want to visit us."