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Ceramics program

Learn directly from the artisans of the Chazutino and Kechwa Lamista culture

A unique program that takes ceramicists out of their comfort zone and into the indigenous communities.  We will visit the home of Kechwa Lamista and Chazutino artisans.  If you are able to hike we can collect the clay by hand and grind the Shano (already fired pots) which is added to the clay with the feet.  We can visit the home of Guillermina in the back streets of an indigenous town, learn how to make a basic traditional shape, and how to fire our pot on a shuntu fire.  Venezuelan artist Jesus teaches ancient techniques, how to build an under-earth kiln and ceremonial instruments.  

Basic History

Traditional pottery in the region is based on the known and widespread technique of rolls of clay, which are overlapped and smoothed to shape dishes for different purposes.

The traditional potteries combine masterfully three basic colors: white, black and red. This combination is the result of a long process of cultural exchange from the Pre-Hispanic times. The clay used as a base comes from quarries in the area. It is kneaded intensively with the feet, especially with the heels, until the shaño, made with fragments of burnt and ground dishes, is added to prevent cracking during the firing process. 

A traditional oven is open, with stacked firewood used as fuel. This is an almost universal technique in the Amazon - called shuntu firing.  To finish, two products are applied immediately after burning: the copal resin and the “lacre”, a natural lacquer. The first makes the inside of the dish impermeable and the second gives brightness to the outside and protects the paint. 



Chazutino Artisans

Chazuta is a district of San Martin province located around a two-hour drive from the art center.   Chazuta a Quechua word derives from the ethnic group that settled in the left bank of the Huallaga River during the XV to XVIII centuries, from its origins till the present day the Chazuta people speak Quechua.  The ceramics have always played a vital role in the community, making Chazutinos famous for being bona fide potters.  

There is a great workspace in Chazuta where a group of elderly women will guide you through various traditional shapes and can speak about the spiritual significance of the symbols used.  There is a kiln and ceramics wheel which is manually powered by foot at this workspace.


Mueseo Isitui - a small museum showcasing pre-Inca funerary urns.

Centro Cultural Joicy V Bartra– museum of the wooden carved sculptures of Joice V Bartra and a coffee shop.

joyce v barter cultural center

Centro Cultural Joicy v Bartra

Mueseo Isitui

Mueseo Isitui

2 Day trip Chazuta: courses in traditional ceramics, visit local museums, chocolate, and papermaking artisanal workshops, walk to the sulfur springs of Chazutayacu and overnight stay in  'El Duende Ecolodge.'

 Day 1

  • Arrive in Chazuta, welcoming drink

  • Wasichay Studio - Traditional course in ceramics learn how to make a basic bowl shape

  • 20-minute walk to El Duende Ecolodge' - lunch

  • 1-hour walk to the sulfur springs of Chazutayacu

  • Overnight stay at 'El Duende Ecolodge'

Day 2

  • After breakfast 

  • Ceramics class, have a go at making a pot on a pedal-operated pottery wheel

  • visit Mishky Cacao chocolate factory

  • Lunch, traditional and regional food - learn about organic artisan chocolate

  • Visit an artisanal ecological paper workshop, using the pulp of bananas, coconut trees etc.


Energetic chocolate making course

ecological paper making

Paper making demonstration

Kechwa Lamista artisans

With 22,513 people the Kechwa Lamista population is of demographic importance representing 9.39% of the indigenous population of Peru.  The Quechua-Lamista territory spreads over 5’492.5 hectares and is part of a large conservation area ‘Cordillera Escalera.’

We will journey by mototaxi from Sachaqa Art Center for about one hour to the indigenous town of Wayku.   Here we will visit the home of ceramicist Gemina.   Her home is a heaven for ceramics lovers, there are broken pots pilled in the corner ready to make shanu powder to mix into the clay.  There are bedsheets hanging with fresh clay drying.  Piles of clay everywhere which makes you feel hungry to start building. The clay oven she has built herself can be used to fire bigger pots.  Which she builds using the rolls of cay technique.   It is really special to be welcomed into her home and spend time with a community that lives so close to ancient customs and traditions.

We can get creative and fire our work in her kiln when we return after our pots have dried.


Trip to the native community of Wayku in Lamas.

  • Chose your ceramic shape and build and paint your pot.

  • lunch in the home of Guillermina traditional food cooked on an open fire.

  • Return five days later to fire your work

Collect clay in the indigenous village of Chunchiwi and grind Shanu (already fired pots ground into a powder)

Petrona is a Kechwa artisan who lives close to the village of San Roque, she can show us where to collect clay and grind the Shanu which we will mix into the clay.  We will grind the shanu by hand using a large rock.

Fire your work traditionally

To fire your work in the clay oven of Guillermina takes a lot of time and firewood, there will be an extra cost for this process. 

If you would like to fire your work on a shuntu open fire we can hire local artisan Petrona who lives close to the art center.  She can bring special firewood to the studio and traditionally fire your work.

under-earth Kiln with Venezuelan artist Jesus

A new addition to our ceramic program is to learn how to make an under-earth kiln.  Ancient techniques used in the Andean region for millennia.  We can also learn how to make ceremonial instruments, reproduce ancient ceramic forms, prepare molds etc.

antient ceramics

Experiment firing your work on a shuntu fire -  fast process at 20-minutes


Clay kiln for firing larger pots 


Basic Residency Price 2023: one month 1600soles 450USD - two weeks 1000soles 280USD 

Basic Program 2024: one month 1800soles 550USD - two weeks 1280 soles 350USD

The ceramics program activities have an additional cost of between 100USD and 380USD plus basic residency /just let us know what activities interest you and we can send you a breakdown of prices for each activity.

Ceramics Program activities Include; During a trip to Chazuta (teachers, transport, hotel, guide, team leader. translator, food - during Chazuta activities only, materials.) Trip to Lamas (transport, meal) all teachers and translators. 

ceramics program
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