Ceramics in Tarica    

Image for Entry 1190424314 Huaraz is a small city, dwarved even further by the mountains that surround it. It had been almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in the '70s so most of the buildings are modern brick and concrete structures. Everywhere you look there are treking companies and the streets reveal a mix of foreign trekers, local indigenous Peruvians in traditional clothing and the more common contemporarily dressed urban Peruvians.

Seeing some craftsmen painting some ceramic pieces near the Plaza des Armes, Rowshan attempted ato question them about their techniques. It turns out they were from Piura in the North. Their pieces were mostly stylized people made from brown clay and burnished smooth and shiny.

Another man stopped by while we were talking and recommended a village called Tarica, a place the owner of the hostel we were staying at had also mentioned.

We boarded a combi and set off to the village. The trip was scenic with the road running along side a river and lots of trees and villages. We were let off at the village, an area of the road lined with artists' workshops. We walked into the first one. There were pots and pieces in rows on the floor and scattered on a few pieces of furniture. A boy came out and Rowshan told him he was a potter and asked to meet the potter. We were led into the back of the shop which had a fire burning and was part of their house. The rest of the area had a light roof but was open to the outdoors. There was a large fire powered kiln and a place for preparing the clay. A young man sat at a wooden wheel quickly making small clay bowls. His name was Pedro and he patiently fielded Rowshan's and my broken Spanish questions. His son had been working on putting handles on cups before we interupted.

Eventually Rowshan just took a video of Pedro explaining the process. Neither of us could understand what he was saying but since at somepoint we will learn Spanish, hopefully one day we will translate it.

I felt worried that we might be annoying them but both Pedro and his kids got a good laugh at our stilted communication attempts so at least we provided them some entertainment in return. As we were about to leave, Pedro's wife came in. We bought a simple clay cup from her and bid them 'adios' and walked up the street.

The ceramics made in Tarica are more utilitarian, functional pieces rather than fine art. The potters work quickly, churning out bunches of cups, pitchers, teapots, and dishes. The other pieces are basic tourist kitch: plaques made in molds imitating the designs at Chavin, little copies of the Chavin stone carvings or pieces with 'Huaraz' painted on them. The tourist pieces I couldn't care less about but the utilitarian pieces would have made a nice replacement for the mass poduced factory dishes everyone uses now.

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