f you go for a search for pottery in Costa Rica, you find Guaitil. A small village where families are making pottery for generations out of the nearby clay.
Gauitil is situated in the center of Guanacaste. THe land is flat, the summer is dry and we where there on april 3, the start of the hottest month.
Us was told that it was a very touristic place and keeping in mind that it is the only place you find on the internet and in tourgides, yes we realy could believe that. So going on a sunday could not be a problem. And it was not a problem, we where the only visitors.
We went there with 3 questions for our own interest for our project:
1Can we find someone who is willing to give some demonstration in our project?
2What kind of clay is there? and can we buy it? ( it is half of the distance from Salitral, where we go now)
3 Is there a possibility to buy undecorated pottery?
We went into a shop where we got a comprehensive tour to see how the clay came out of the mountain, then how it was mashed in a mortar . Then special sand is added. and then water.
A very intensive labour. The good part is that there are diffent colors
they have the normal orange, but then white, green and black too. So they use the different colors for their traditional, indigenous decorations.
The clay is after been procesed not suitable for a tradional wheel as is known all over the world.
The pots are made on a very small rotary table that is moved by hand.
The pottery there is fired in open wood kilns. The same as is used for baking bread. The temperature will not be over 800 degrees, what is not a problem because the clay cannot stand higher temperatures either.
So the answer on our second question was no. This clay is not a better option than the clay from Salitral.
Our third question is then answered also. The pottery of Gauitil is made and decoraten in one go.
It is a very old technique and is kept the way it is done by the potters ancestors. Technique, form and style of decoratons do not show signs of the Spanisch invasion as it does in Nicaragua, where we found a mix of indigous and spanisch forms.
Or the Cuban pottery what is influenced completely by Mediteranian/Greek/Roman/Spanisch culture.
The good thing of tradition is that it keeps the memorie of the roots alive!
That is the succes of Gauitil.
Our succes is that we found a potter willing to come over to Codeso/Tempatal to give demonstrations of this
very old technique, deeply rooted in Guanacaste historie.