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Ilsa Chavarria

Artisan Organization: Ilsa Chavarria

Country: Central America

"At a very young age, I began observing the making of ceramics. This is an art that has been transmitted from generation to generation in my family. My brothers are also ceramists and we have focused one hundred percent on this art. For me, it isn't just a way to make a living, but is part of my personal history.

"I was born in September of 1962. When I was 12, I started making pottery with the help of my family. This art captivated me from the beginning. I could always see my family members design and create incredible works of ceramic art.

"I had the opportunity to work for a cooperative in the Guanacaste area, where I could perfect my art. I have worked as an artisan since the mid-1970s and all this time has helped me to make each design unique, to innovate in my ceramics, and always offer something new.

"Ceramics mean a lot to me, and it fills me with pride and joy because this is an art tradition I want to convey to my children and to many people in my community. Even though the income is meager, it is always satisfying to be able to give the Chorotega culture a place again.

"Crafting ceramics was a very important part of our ancient Chorotega culture. They were made most frequently by women, which is why I seek to create in many women that spirit our ancestors had, and thus give us an important place in society that has long been lost.

"It is a great blessing for me to be able to show my art to many people. I hope that you appreciate and recognize my ceramics. But, above all, I want you to have a bit of Costa Rica in your homes.""