Welcome to Raquira, the land of ceramics, so much it’s almost scary.
We have met Maria in the city of Raquira, where ceramics are everywhere and where basically everybody has something to do with it. Ceramic flower pots, ceramic statues on the main square, ceramic decorations hanging out of every house. Ceramics everywhere.
So obviously we wanted to know who was behind all this. Turns out there are 1241 craftmen working on these pieces. We met Maria.
We found her house, which also was her workshop, while walking up the hills of Raquira. She asked if we were looking for handicrafts. Sounded a bit like we were taken for tourists there. Which we are. And as a matter of fact we were looking for handicrafts. So we entered the house, obediently. The workshop-house was filled with small ceramics at different stage of production.
Maria works exclusively on hanging decoration and pieces of mini Panama hat, doll and bell shaped ceramics were everywhere. Cooked, uncooked, painted, unpainted, broken or ready-to-sell. When we asked her for how long she had been working on these she replied “Toda la vida”. And Maria is not young, so it’s been a while. She is in charge of the painting while an employee shapes the ceramics.
An employee? Really? This house was so remote it was hard to imagine there was some business going on in here. Were people really coming up here very often? Well yes did Maria reply, very casually. Actually some of her pieces were even sent for sale to some foreign countries.
It was quite moving to imagine her pieces made by hand in this little house were actually given the access to a wider public. And because we liked her work and were moved by her story, we bought one piece each. Which we now realize, a few weeks later, is heavy. And we still have several months to go. Aren’t our bags supposed to get lighter with time? Oops.