“In a society where most knowledge is transmitted verbally, the techniques, the memories, the manners, the rituals, and the knowledge are lost when people are lost.”
About the project
“>The desire to develop a project for the Andean area between Peru and Bolivia was born in 2020, in the interest of helping communities in rural areas to develop their artistic and craft realities. Most importantly, there was the desire to work with the communities of ceramists who, in the last 30 years, have found themselves greatly affected by globalization and political and climatic changes, as many communities that once lived in harmony with their environment were forced to migrate, and the few remaining today live isolated in impoverished areas, lacking water, or where hailstorms and other natural disasters has destroyed their fields, killed their animals, and turned them into inhospitable lands.
Opposed to what is thought, the difficulty of starting over is not only linked to the distance to larger cities or to the climatic changes that are taking place, not even to the lack of raw material, that is actually abundant there, but it is the complete absence of means to be able to rediscover and study the techniques and methods of ceramic production.In a society where most knowledge is transmitted verbally, the techniques, the memories, the manners, the rituals, and the knowledge are lost when people are lost.
The why of our project
We have always been committed to education and training in the ceramics field, and we have the means and knowledge necessary to be able to give back to these communities something that belongs to
In the schools and art institutes present in the most important cities, there are no valid textbooks to be able to deepen these techniques, which makes the work of teachers even more difficult. In order to transmit this art, you need commitment, you need to write a text that contemplates their lifestyle. Already existing American or European texts are not sufficient as their culture, their history, and their legacy very different from ours. Therefore, if we want this art not to be lost, and if we want to see the emergence of these communities that today live isolated and are losing their identity, the first step is to work on education.
What are we doing?
A small community was recently brought to us by Roso Chacon an artist form Potosí, whose parents had worked with the Yayani community 30 years ago. This -once large- community is located in the middle of the Bolivian Andes at 3,100 metres above sea level, in the midst of changes and infinite silence. The closest city is Potosí, one of the most important cities of Bolivia which is located at more than 4,000 metres above sea level. Here Quechua is spoken almost exclusively and, in the past, most of the families lived here were dedicated to the production of ceramics.
We’ve recently started the documentation, by both video and photographs, of every step involved in their ceramic process, and from the identification of the local clay sources, to the testing of the different materials, the creation of a ceramic studio for the community, the construction of a ceramic kiln, the recovery of the memories from the few who remembered or who still produced something today, the preparation of raw materials to prepare the glasses, and the construction of the tools and equipment useful to be able to produce the artifacts, we reinvented their entire production chain.By training some key members of the community in all the areas necessary to be able to produce ceramics again and having a present memory of the ancient techniques, we have been able to document the entire production chain using ancient and millinery techniques and integrating them with new ones.
What are the next steps?
Throughout 2023 and 2024 our energies will be engaged in writing this handbook, and we aim to print it by December 2024 in both Quechua and Spanish. Subsequently, after writing and printing the manual, we will take care of the distribution in schools, institutes, libraries, museums, and in the communities that conform the map of the places where ceramics were once produced. After that, our future projects are aiming to help these communities to reconnect and recreate their networks and open new ones, to be able to reclaim the importance of their craft.
We will only be able to carry on with this ambitious project with to the support and contribution of those who believe in it. You can support the Pacha project by purchasing one of the unique pieces from our collection.