Chilean Clay Pots & Bowls

22 Feb

DSC05942Earthenware pots and bowls of every stripe are the special craft in the village of Pomaire (Pom-eh-eee-ray) in the countryside outside of Santiago. This sleepy and dusty town with its adobe buildings reminded me of our villages around Santa Fe.

The rough clay pottery is a beautiful dark brown that gets darker with use appearing black when well seasoned.  The pots can be used on the stove top as well as the oven and are suited to dishes, like Pastel de Choclo (See the previous post.) that require both kinds of heat in preparation.

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The sheds in which the pots are sold are rudimentary wooden structures. The crafts people work quietly on site kneading and shaping clay.  Buyers wander through the sheds at their own pace.  The price of a pot like you see in this photo is about 6,000 pesos…about $12.00. It was painful not to be able to buy one for each of our friends and family but alas they are fragile and would probably shatter in transit.

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There were other objects for sale along with pots, vases, wind chimes, piggy banks and this wonder of anatomical correctness.

DSC05947These function as bud vases.

DSC05945Flat-brimmed, woven straw hats are a common sight here in the Chilean countryside. Farmers all wear straw hats for much-needed sun protection. There is a hole in the ozone layer over this part of Chile and the sun is unusually brutal.

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There were also brightly colored offerings for sale. (The word “abundancia” on the sign means “abundance.”) The colors come from dyed corn kernels, macaroni, noodles, grains, nuts in the pod and a single coin. The vibrant bowls seem to be used for a spiritual purpose much like the sugar skeletons to celebrate  “Day of the Dead.”

The open countryside was a wonderful respite from the fast rhythm of Valparaiso. We even saw the snow-capped Andes on the drive home.

2 Responses to “Chilean Clay Pots & Bowls”

  1. Neil Freer February 22, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Really admirable craftsmanship in the bowls and hats………..any way of telling what the components of their clay are……..hope that color doesn’t indicate lead. The bud vases are something else.
    n

    • Jill February 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

      I don’t think, even in Chile, they would make clay with lead as a component. The hats are beautiful.

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