Obama Ware and Random Notes PhP-5

Obama ware. The Latest in Pottery

Potters for Peace (aka Potters without Borders) was founded by an extraordinary man named Ron Rivera. I first learned of this organization when my wife Leslie, showed me Ron’s obituary in the NY Times. He died of African Malaria while he was in Central America, where they tried to treat it like it was Central American Malaria. It didn’t work. He was a visionary and an extraordinary leader and inspiration to everyone he met.

This kiln, and many like it, were built by some NGO that did not know anything about designing kilns.  They apparently hired an architect with a subscription to Pizza Ovens of Tuscany magazine.  The chamber is twice as high as can be stacked with pottery.  That means that it will consume twice as much fuel as a properly sized kiln.  There was a chicken in a nest in this kiln.

test tiles

Note the cob webs on the test tiles.   I guess they know their glazes.

Pre-Columbian is BACK

Over the next weeks, our minibus traveled up and down western Nicaragua, visiting subsistence potters in their traditional settings. You wonder why some of the traditional families have remained in such out-of-the-way locations. It’s easy to understand, once you visit. Potters and pottery towns spring up where there is easy access to clay. DUH. (That’s for me).

” Jodido ” means “We are Screwed: But We’ll Survive”   This billboard proclaims that the City of Leon knows its place and what they can expect from the national government

In some villages, yellow, red, and grey clays are layered right below the groundcover. In other towns, the clay is deeper and more difficult to dig up. The women of El Ojoche were the most persistent. Their clay was 2-3 km away on someone else’s property. And that guy didn’t want to give or sell it to them. The women piled five or ten pounds into sacks and carried it home on their heads.

Tools of the Trade

Yucca and Malonga chips are like meaty, chewy flavorful potato chips with all the crunch and flavor and none of the grease. The calorie count is another matter, I am sure.

We had to practice making tortillas in order to make traditional comale cooking platters

I love “tiste” a cool drink made of corn and chocolate.

In Managua many large banners decorated the main streets for an upcoming concert by a Pink Floyd cover band.

nice pots



Nice Water Jugs

Revolutionary Suction Pump

This recently invented suction pump appears all over the Nicaraguan countryside.  It and the Water Filters impact the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of people.  The Pump consists of a line with tiny little suction cups, strung through a closed bicycle wheel.  With very little pressure, the wheel is turned and the line creates a vacuum, bringing water up from the bottom of the well  A child can do it. And usually does.

Not All Clay is Created Equal

We all tried throwing in most of the towns we visited,.  It was amazing to experience the differences in texture and plasticity each day.

New Potter for Peace Logo

The "Conquistador Look" is ALWAYS in.


US Dollars are accepted and in fact dispensed at cash machines, but they can have no tears or writing on them. Every  bill is inspected when spent.


Fans appear in the strangest places.

Every pig wears a yoke to keep them out of the houses.

Erica and Maria settle things

Meg and I Oink it Up

Cool Pottery

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