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One Hour In Guatemala: Learn to Make Pottery in San Antonio Palopó

 

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San Antonio Palopó artisans paint ceramic products. Brenda Leticia Saloj Chiyal, GPJ, Guatemala
Guatemala

Learn about the hand-painted pottery tradition of Guatemala’s Kaqchikel people in San Antonio Palopó, a Mayan town on Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán. Here, visitors can sign up for a tour, or try their hand at the art.

WHAT: Browse and buy hand-painted pottery

WHERE: San Antonio Palopó, a Mayan town on Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán

WHY: Making hand-painted pottery is an ancient tradition of Guatemala’s Kaqchikel people. In the municipality of San Antonio Palopó in the Sololá department, Kaqchikel artisans capture in their work the landscapes and history of their people. Expressing their Mayan identity and contributing to Guatemala’s creative diversity, they pass down their skills from generation to generation.

The pottery, while available for purchase locally, is distributed around the country and exported. Tourists and locals decorate their homes with Kaqchikel ceramics.

Visitors are welcome are welcome to tour the pottery studios, observing the process up close.

They can also try their hand at the art. At MayanKe, a fair trade art studio, visitors can make cups, tea sets, ornaments, jars and plates using the region’s traditional methods. Instructors in the one-day course tell participants the stories behind traditional designs.

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Hand-painted ceramic products are displayed for purchase.

Photo by Brenda Leticia Saloj Chiyal, GPJ, Guatemala

The village of San Antonio Palopó, on the shore of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala’s northern Sololá department, is known in part for the work of its traditional Kaqchikel potters. Tourists are welcome to visit the village’s pottery studios – and can even learn the ancient art.

Photo by Brenda Leticia Saloj Chiyal, GPJ, Guatemala

The Taller de Ceramica (“Ceramic Workshop”) in San Antonio Palopó produces traditional hand-painted Kaqchikel pottery.

Photo by Brenda Leticia Saloj Chiyal, GPJ, Guatemala

An artisan applies a coat of paint.

Photo by Brenda Leticia Saloj Chiyal, GPJ, Guatemala

An artisan prepares to mold the base of a ceramic product.

Photo by Brenda Leticia Saloj Chiyal, GPJ, Guatemala

Ceramic goods await hand-painting.

Photo by Brenda Leticia Saloj Chiyal, GPJ, Guatemala

A workshop artisan cleans a delicate ceramic work with great care.

Photo by Brenda Leticia Saloj Chiyal, GPJ, Guatemala

A worker inspects completed ceramic products and arranges them for sale.

Photo by Brenda Leticia Saloj Chiyal, GPJ, Guatemala

QUOTE: “It is important to work in pottery because it is an activity that comes from antiquity, and it goes from generation to generation. Not everyone likes to work in this. This practice is being lost, but there are some young people who do like it, and they have the ability to paint and draw. They are happy to be here in pottery and to be able to get ahead in life.”
Marco Sicay, potter

DETAILS: San Antonio Palopó is home to various pottery studios. To take a pottery class, visit MayanKe at Calle del Lago, Barrio Chuacruz, San Antonio Palopó. For details, call 502-5515-5207 or email [email protected]