Pottery in PomaireSantiago, Fall 2009

One of the Universities in Santiago at which we have been taking classes has an outreach program for international students. They regularly organize activities, one of which was a day trip to Pomaire, a town about an hour from Santiago.

Pomaire is known for its pottery, although, like many crafts passed down over generations, the local artisans are having trouble attracting youth to the art.

We were hosted by a family that lives in a beautiful house full of dark wood, local knickknacks, and lots of character. The daughter brought us to an open air shop where we were given a pottery demonstration from start to finish. The clay is dug out of a pit and mixed with water to make it pliable. It is then rolled and kneaded on a stone pallet while impurities and air bubbles are removed. After this, it can be cut into small chunks and worked with on the wheel.

After watching the expert formation of several pots in just a few impressive minutes, we each took a stab at it, albeit with lots of help. Once we had all realized just how difficult wheel throwing is, we visited the kiln outside that was full of pieces waiting for the last step. After the demonstrations we returned to the house for empanadas and soup, and then, of course, had plenty of time for local shopping.

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