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Juan Carlos Diaz

Artisan Organization: Juan Carlos Diaz

Country: Andes

"I was born in 1976 in the beautiful Peruvian province of Ayacucho. I like to plan my projects carefully and I enjoy taking the initiative. I'm persistent and responsible.

"When I was a little boy, Peru faced a critical situation. From 1980 to 1994, subversive groups rose up in the countryside, terrorizing the population. This period is also known as the 'Internal Armed Conflict.'

"It was like a civil war and the increasing levels of violence forced many innocent people to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere to save their families' lives. This is how I came to live in Lima at the age of ten.

"I lived with my grandmother. She educated me and, although it took great effort, we continued our lives far away from our home, always with the hope of one day achieving our dreams.

"Having lived in a province where art can be seen everywhere and talent abounds let me get to know artisans whose work not only reflected our customs but also represented a way of life. In Quinua, there are many ceramic artisans and that's where I learned the craft. First, I observed others and then, with the help of good friends, I began practicing and exploring. I loved being able to shape the clay and give it the form I desired. In Lima, I again took up ceramics.

"I leaned everything I know today in Ayacucho and began to work in a family workshop in the capital. I'm afraid a lot of my ceramics didn't turn out well and I had to recycle the clay again and again. But this is the way we master the craft. There's nothing simple about it and it takes a lot of practice. The finishes are applied by hand and require not only talent but also hard work, day after day.

"Family unity is very important to me and that's why many of my themes depict the Holy Family and Andean families. This is a part of my culture and that of our ancestors. I love creating new and unique designs.

"One of my dreams is to establish myself as a ceramic artisan. I want to make my work stand out with unique Peruvian designs and share it with the world. I'm proud of what I do and my greatest dream is to be successful as a ceramic artisan.

"When I was a boy, I spent time in the fields with farmers, in mountain meadows with shepherds, and I visited nearby villages and towns. All these memories inspire my work. The Peruvian people and our faith in God are also a part of the inspiration for my traditional Ayacucho ceramics.

"One of my biggest challenges was setting up a workshop to work on my own. It wasn't easy but it has brought me the greatest experiences. Today, I'm happy to be a part of the Novica family. It's exciting to have this opportunity to share my work with people everywhere.""