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Elpidio Chavarria

Artisan Organization: Elpidio Chavarria

Country: Central America

"I'm Elpidio Chavarria Chavarria. I work in the ceramics that are representative of my community.

"I was born in 1964 into a lovely home where family togetherness was valued and practiced. My whole family works in ceramics and I've been surrounded by their beautiful creations my whole life. When I was 12, I began helping out in the workshop where my mother patiently taught me herself so I'd learn in the best way.

"I started out step by step. First I learned to prepare the clay, then to mold and shape it and paint it. It was a world filled with colors where my mind could imagine all kinds of things that I later created in clay.

"Crafting my own designs was slow but an experience filled with learning. As time went by, I became interested in creating replicas of pre-Hispanic vessels. This requires a great deal of responsibility because each one of these pieces has a history to share. This also helped me perfect my technique.

"Chorotega ceramics represent more than just a source of income. This craft is a cultural and social labor as we strive to share our art with many more people. Ours is a very rich art even though our resources are few.

"I have always worked very hard to get ahead and I dream that one day our community will be able to stand out in the world. What better way than through this art? It represents us and fills us with pride.

"Our handicrafts bring in a large part of our communities' incomes.

"I hope that each one of my designs means something to the person who purchases it. Each one is unique and carries with it a bit of our culture, tradition and love.""