Artisan Organization: Mario Rodenas
Country: Central America
"My name is Mario Enrique and I was born in 1949. I grew up with my parents and my brothers in a very big house with lots of space to play. We had a lot of fun but our parents also taught us to work.
"For a very long time, my family has handed down our work techniques as well as the art of ceramic and painting from generation to generation. One of the best artisans in our town, my father began patiently teaching us this art form when we were quite young. I remember that the first things I made were little shepherds and sheep for the nativity scenes I imagine were used in homes. Then I learned to make more complicated figures that demanded a great deal of patience to paint ‚Äì I made angels, butterflies and birds.
"Of all the designs I created, the birds interested me the most. I loved the challenge of making a clay object look like a bird with feathers almost exactly like the ones I'd seen in photos and paintings. I'd spend hours painting in the workshop we had at home, but my brushstrokes weren't so fine or exact. My father showed me how to make very fine paintbrushes with the hairs of my dog or of my younger brothers. And that's how I started perfecting my technique.
"One day I met a foreigner who was so impressed by my work that she lent me a book about birds. I loved it! I couldn't stop looking at it and examining the pictures and drawings of each one. That book is when I became inspired to create new designs. I'm very grateful for her help because, with that book, I was able to offer shoppers more variety. Over the years, I kept working on birds and a few other pieces of hand-painted ceramics, and I was able to set up my own workshop in my home.
"My ceramics are crafted by hand without molds, and I try to give them the touch that the bird originally has in color, texture and shape. I hope that you like them and appreciate the work, love and care that I put into making them.
"Thank you for giving me the opportunity of sharing my work, my love of nature and my family legacy with you.""